Sinkhole Swallows Hydrovac

Badger Daylighting hydroexcavator falls into hole caused by corroded culvert pipe
Sinkhole Swallows Hydrovac
A Badger Daylighting hydroexcavator fell into a sinkhole near Atlanta, Georgia, Tuesday, Jan. 17. No one was injured, but crews spent most of the day emptying the truck's contents and will attempt to pull it out Jan. 18. (Photography courtesy of WSB-TV of Atlanta)

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A Badger Daylighting hydroexcavator fell into a sinkhole near Atlanta, Georgia, Tuesday, Jan. 17. No one was injured, but crews spent most of the day emptying the truck's contents and will attempt to pull it out Jan. 18. (Photography courtesy of WSB-TV of Atlanta)

Typically hydroexcavators are used to dig holes, not fall into them. However, on Jan. 17 a hydrovac ended up in a giant hole in Hall County, Georgia.

According to a news report from WSB-TV of Atlanta, a Badger Daylighting hydrovac was swallowed by a sinkhole in the parking lot of a car wash Tuesday morning. The machine ended up with its cab and front tires hanging in the air, while the back end was in the hole. The hole was estimated to be about 20 feet wide by 10 feet deep.

The driver wasn’t injured, according to the emergency officials. “This could have been worse, so we’re very fortunate with that,” says Hall County Fire Services Captain Zachary Brackett.

The hydrovac had been parked in the parking lot of the Diamond Auto Spa car wash around 7:45 a.m. when the ground slowly gave way under its weight.

An investigation showed that the sinkhole was likely the result of a broken storm drain culvert. The 20-year-old culvert ran across the parking lot and was about 5 feet high. Over time, the pipe corroded, causing the ground to become saturated with water.

After removing fuel from the truck, to avoid leaking concerns, workers began to pump out the truck’s debris tank to help get it out of the sinkhole. “The plan right now is to offload the water. This vehicle has 1,600 gallons in a tank on the back of it,” Brackett says.

Emergency officials hope draining the fuel and water will make the hydrovac light enough to lift from the hole, which will be attempted Jan. 18.



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