Vacuum Excavation

Vacuum Excavation

Hydroexcavator a fit for wind farm work

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Dry excavator enables easy trenching for pipeline client

Problem: A large Ontario pipeline client required a trench (250 feet long by 10 inches wide by 2 1/2 feet deep) and two anode holes (12 inch depth) to be excavated at an isolated, secure pumping station while avoiding all buried utility lines. The top layer of the site consisted of coarse granular material; however, the underlying soil structure was clay, typically a difficult soil for excavation. Due to potential site contamination, using a traditional hydrovac was undesirable considering projected high costs of offsite disposal based on third-party processing fees, additional operational charges due to significant travel distances, and reduced productivity rates overall. Reusing the original excavated material was the desired method of spoils treatment.

Solution: Utilizing the OX Equipment MTS Dino 8 dry suction excavator, the excavation contractor, Super Sucker, was able to safely excavate between and around existing boundaries, structures, and utilities without the use of water. Powerful, onboard twin compressors producing over 300 cfm quickly and safely broke the clay, and 24,000 cfm of suction removed the material. While in full suction mode, the operators were able to continuously dig safely while remotely moving the unit forward or backward with the hydrostatic drive. All excavated material was off-loaded directly into bins on site via the side-tipping hopper.

RESULT: The excavation contractor was able to stay on site and complete the project by removing over 30 cubic yards of material in a single nine-hour workday. Excavated material was reinstated later when installation work was completed, eliminating both disposal and new fill material costs. Keeping the site dry allowed the client to perform work immediately, in ideal conditions, ahead of original timelines. 888-290-4044;

Vacuum excavator a fit on college campus

Problem: Some of the initiatives that University of Central Florida utility workers handle daily include identifying and mapping the location of utility lines. “We have a lot of old utility lines in the ground that haven’t been located in many decades,” says Anthony Lugo, University of Central Florida utility supervisor. “They have never been marked properly, and it is our job to find them, mark them, and put them on the map. Finding those lines can be time-consuming and intrusive to the property. But the biggest obstacle, when you are part of the utility crew, is safety. You don’t want to hit electrical lines with a shovel.”

Solution: The university purchased a Vac-Tron Equipment AIR 373 SDT vacuum excavation unit. The unit is powered by an 83 hp Yanmar diesel engine and comes standard with a 300-gallon debris tank, air pressure of 150 cfm at 170 psi, hydraulically operated full-open rear door with auto engage safety latch, and one 100-gallon water tank. Its remote debris tank collects the dry material and then can be positioned back over the hole to put back into place without causing much disruption to the surroundings.

RESULT: Upgrading from traditional methods of excavation, an excavator or hand shovel, to a Vac-Tron Equipment unit has greatly increased efficiency for the University of Central Florida utility crew. “It made things faster; it made things safer,” Lugo says. “It saves us a lot of time: What used to take four to six hours, now only takes one to two hours. We aren’t spending any unnecessary time doing a job.” 352-728-2222;

Hydroexcavator works around distance and difficult landscape 

Problem: ADP Group was tasked with a site investigation at a former gasworks post to obtain data on soil and groundwater conditions in North Yorkshire, U.K. The workload included drilling and installation of monitoring boreholes, a full site utility survey and clearance of services including an hydrovac service along the front of the site, and hydroexcavation to avoid buried lines and apparatus before advancing boreholes with a rotary drill. The work site was located at the end of a small footpath not large enough for vehicular access. The closest locale to place equipment was approximately 65 yards from the furthest exploratory tract. In addition, the overall work site was 11 yards lower than the vehicle compound.

Solution: With all of the environmental challenges taken into account, the Vac-Con X-Cavator was selected for the operation. The 8-foot boom of the X-Cavator was used in the placement of pipework toward the foot access, and the 6-foot boom laid out the remainder of the work site. The water system of the X-Cavator was used to excavate the site, while the vacuum system easily pulled the material back to the tank on the machine, based on the compound.

RESULT: “Our flagship hydroexcavator showcased the benefits of hydrovacuum excavation at a complicated job site,” according to the ADP Group foreman. “The Vac-Con X-Cavator has been safely excavating predrill pits working 65-plus meters from the work site, reducing manual handling and costs, all while ensuring that any underground services encountered were not damaged.” 904-284-4200;

Hydroexcavator a fit for wind farm work

Problem: Based in Southfield, Michigan, Barton Malow is Consumers Energy’s lead contractor for the Tuscola County Cross Winds Energy Park 105 MW wind farm — designed to capture and convert wind to electricity. The infrastructure plan included 62 wind turbines in an electrical generation system involving easements on 51,300 acres for the underground electrical collections system. To create safe pathways through the project for heavy equipment and to plot the future location of collection lines, Barton Malow crews found it necessary to verify the location and depth of underground gas, utility and fiber optic lines shown on existing maps.

Solution: Barton Malow chose to use Vacall - Gradall Industries’ AllExcavate models for Cross Winds. “It’s got a lot of power,” says Bob Angell, operator, who was digging holes to install ports where the utility lines could be viewed. He especially liked the AllSmartFlow control system that’s standard on all Vacall machines. Using a color LCD screen and a wireless remote-control device, he says he can locate the boom properly and dial in the jetting and vacuum forces that he wants. “It’s very precise, and when you dial it in, you’ll get exactly what you want all day long,” he says.

RESULT: Daniel Ortega, safety coordinator on the site, says the company is especially sensitive to job site safety, so the job performed with the Vacall machines at the Cross Winds project to create safe pathways for machine travel and transmission lines is critical to its success. 330-339-2211;


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