What Is Hydro Excavation?

What Is Hydro Excavation?

January 30, 2021

If you’ve ever seen the damage a hurricane or tsunami can cause, you know water is a powerful force. That power can be harnessed for good, too. Hydro excavating is an efficient, effective way to move dirt in Bay City, MI. When you’re excavating for sewer lines, septic tanks and other trenches, hydro excavation is one of the most effective methods available. Read on to learn how it works and why it’s such an ideal method.

How it works

Hydro excavation was initially “discovered” in Canada. Canada’s northern climate means that the ground is often frozen throughout the year, which makes excavation with traditional methods extremely difficult. Oil and gas pipeline companies figured out that moving soil with heated water solved the problem—it thawed the ground enough to allow the powerful water jets to then move the earth.

The equipment has two major parts and functions: high-pressure water jets and an air vacuum. The operator points the jets where they’re trying to remove dirt so the water will displace the soil. Then the vacuum sucks up the muddy debris (also known as a slurry) to get it out of the way. It sits in a debris tank until the job is completed, then disposed of however the project requires.

The vacuum requires an air source, which is either a fan system or positive displacement blower. Both offer unique features. For example, a fan system is capable of moving large volumes of air, which makes it faster, easier to operate and lighter than a positive displacement blower.

On the other hand, positive displacement blowers move air over longer distances, but are also slower. This allows for deeper excavations. Usually, a fan system will be the most efficient way to move the earth, but some projects benefit from a positive displacement blower system.

When to use hydro excavation

Hydro excavation can be used for many excavation projects in Bay City, MI, from digging trenches for utility lines to punching out holes in the earth for sign and fence posts. It’s also used for pipe and sewer rehabilitation.

Unique benefits

Excavation can be extremely dangerous, but using water to achieve that goal lessens the risk. It’s an extremely precise excavation method, and since the dirt is removed to the debris tank, there’s no need for heavy equipment to drive over the ground. This reduces the risk of damage to the earth and any utilities underneath.

It’s also incredibly efficient. Instead of using metal claws and scoops to remove the earth (which can potentially harm existing utility lines and pipes), which takes hours or days, hydro excavation can get the job done in hours. Since it’s also safer for workers and operators, using hydro excavation tends to reduce insurance and liability costs, ultimately saving even more money down the line.

When you’re looking for local, reliable hydro excavation companies in Bay City, MI, look no further than Thornton Brothers Sewer Service. We offer a number of water jetting services, including hydro excavation. Get in touch today to learn more.

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Thornton Brothers Sewer Service
2476 Larry Ln
Bay City, MI 48706

(989) 684-1400


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