What is Vacuum Excavation?

Excavation is necessary part of below-ground construction. It’s primarily used to create building foundations, but is also commonly during the laying and maintenance of below-ground pipe and cable systems. It’s one of the more risky aspects of civil engineering and can be both costly and disruptive so there have, over the years, been a number of innovations designed to improve the effectiveness of the excavation process whilst minimising its environmental impact and reducing cost across the board. 

One such innovation was that of vacuum excavation, a relatively new technique designed to improve excavation speed whilst reducing associated health and safety risks. Instead of using machinery to haul out soil, a high powered suction system is instead employed to remove all unwanted materials, both solid and liquid, from the excavation site.

How Does Vacuum Excavation Work?

When carrying out vacuum excavation, a blast of air or water is first directed into the site in order to loosen soil and break up any large materials. Afterwards, an air vacuum hose is passed into the site and used to suck the loosened materials out of the hole and into a specially designed tank, ready to be transported elsewhere or saved for refilling the site later. 

Because vacuum excavation technology is relatively low-impact and non-destructive, it’s fast becoming the preferred excavation method for fuel and energy distribution industries, as well as other industries for whom both human safety and environmental impact are major factors. It’s also been successfully deployed in situations where congenital digging equipment has been deemed inappropriate, or areas which are inaccessible to larger machinery.

The Benefits of Vacuum Technology

Because vacuum excavation has so much less of an environmental impact than its traditional mechanical counterparts, it’s a great choice for anyone with a vested interest in protecting their green credentials. It also reduces the need for manual hand digging, thereby lessening the associated health risks for construction workers on site. Most importantly, for both industry operatives and the general public, vacuum excavation is exponentially faster than other excavation methods, which is essential for reducing disruption to homes, businesses and services, especially within urban areas. Finally, because vacuum excavation is so precise, it is much easier to carry out repairs once the excavation has been completed, which again has a positive knock-on effect on the surrounding environment, as well as any nearby business owners and residents


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