Using a vacuum to suck dirt from a hole may seem strange, but it is one of the innovative ways excavation is now occurring. The process often referred to as vacuum excavation, uses a combination of suction and high-pressure water and air to move dirt and other material away from underground facilities in order to expose their exact locations.
Brian Showley helps explain and demonstrate how vacuum excavation is used, and how it results in greater safety for those involved in the line locating and excavation process. Learn from Brian some key steps that can, and should be taken by all when excavating, including coming up with a plan of when and where excavation will occur, what to do when crossing other underground facilities, and activities that should occur in the “tolerance zone” surrounding a buried facility.
April is National Safe Digging month and every year many companies, including 811, promote the importance of having a plan before you begin digging.
Every six minutes an underground utility line is damaged and the growing trend in preventing these accidents is utilizing vacuum excavation. There are many instances when vacuum excavation is the safest and most productive option for digging compared to traditional excavation.
Saving Utility Lines
Digging around lines using vacuum excavation is less intrusive to the surrounding dig site and provides a cleaner hole. It exposes the piping without abrasive force compared to a front-end loader or shovel. Air or hydro vacuum excavation dramatically reduces the chance of a cut or break into the utility lines which helps with cost, safety, and time.
Specifically those areas where the bore route will cross other utilities, and especially when the bore route crosses natural gas lines buried within the road or other paved areas is another example of when vacuum excavation is the best option. A gas line strike with traditional excavation is one of the worst disasters a project can incur and happens too often. Vacuum excavation is a much safer alternative when digging around gas lines.
The cost of damaging utilities can range from environmental contamination, project delays, lost time and productivity and even more tragically, death.
Because vacuum excavation is so safe and precise, it is even being used for trench rescues due to the speed and safety of removing the soil from around a victim.
Be sure to use proper protective gear while using a vacuum excavator. This usually includes rubber steel-toe boots, safety glasses, face shield, hard hat, gloves, safety vest and hearing protection.
Vacuum excavation is used worldwide and has quickly grown into the best method for safer digging. Vac-Tron Equipment is the industry leader in vacuum excavation and has worked tirelessly to gather industry research and data in order to make safety a priority. For over 20 years, Vac-Tron equipment has developed innovative, reliable vacuum excavation equipment.