Hydrovac Team in Denver - Kinetic Industry

Roles of a Hydro Excavation Contractor

Hydro excavation is a proven method using water and vacuum in a non destructive way to successfully complete excavation processes. The role of a hydrovac excavation contractor is the same as any excavation contractor–to remove soil or other debris from a jobsite.

Rather than using heavy excavation equipment with little control, hydro excavation contractors use pressurized water that loosens dirt and debris while the truck’s industrial strength vacuum suctions away the slurry into a holding tank.

Hydrovac contractors regularly work long hours, through inclement weather conditions, and are an integral part of many construction sites. To become a hydrovac operator there are qualifications that must be met, including:

  • Class A CDL license with Tanker Endorsement
  • Clean driving record
  • Must pass drug screen, MVR check, and background check
  • Ability to work in confined spaces
  • Minimum of 1 year of related experience or training
  • Mechanical ability; and knowledge of equipment and heavy vehicle operation, maintenance, and repair

Common Jobs Performed by Hydro Excavation Contractors

Mechanical tools like backhoes, excavators, and hand shovels can easily pierce electrical insulation, or crack a gas or water line. Hydrovac trucks eliminate the use of sharp metal edges and it is a fact that hydro excavation is a proven method for minimizing or eliminating the risk of damaging buried utilities.

Hydrovac trucks are not only safer, they are also versatile. Hydrovac contractors perform various types of excavations for different purposes.

Here are some common jobs you’ll find hydrovac contractors performing on the jobsite:

Potholing / Daylighting (Exposing Utilities)

Potholing, also called daylighting, is the process of exposing underground utility lines to daylight. Since hydro excavation uses water instead of mechanical tools to break up and remove soil, hydro excavation is ideal for daylighting projects.

Hydro excavation contractors use hydrovac trucks to carefully dig around and expose water, gas, electricity, and other utility lines. When done carefully, even the most sensitive utility lines can be revealed without the risk of accidentally striking and damaging them.

Piling Hole Excavation

When installing piles, poles, signs, posts, and other cylindrical structures holes must be dug first. Piling hole excavation requires a high level of precision because friction between the structure and soil is required for uplift resistance.

Manual digging with shovels or drilling with an auger are traditional methods for excavating piling holes. Using an auger in sensitive areas is just too risky and manual labor is slow and expensive. Hydro excavation is able to eliminate these issues by digging holes safely, quickly, and accurately. An added benefit of using hydro excavation is the soil removed from the ground is vacuumed into the holding tank which makes it easy to haul away.

Waste Removal

Hydro Excavation contractors can use the hydro vac process in a variety of waste removal projects. Whether cleaning manholes, or removing debris from trenches, pits, and underground tanks, hydro excavation is the fastest process to remove waste and keep your project on schedule.

Slot Trenching

Slot trenching is the process of excavating narrow trenches to install pipes, cables, conduits, and other underground utilities. Since only narrow trenches are needed, the accuracy and precision of hydro excavation is the preferred method for this application.

Conventional methods of slot trenching like using a backhoe are not able to dig a narrow enough trench and backfilling is needed which increases completion times and job costs.

Hydrovac operators use a precise stream of high-pressure water to safely and economically dig narrow soil trenches. Hydro excavation allows you to accurately dig the size of trench you need. Less backfill is required so the job will be done faster.

Excavating Frozen Ground

Digging in frozen ground with traditional excavating equipment is a painstaking process. Pulling, prying, and ripping puts a lot of stress on mechanical components. Hydrovac trucks, on the other hand, are equipped with pressurized, heated water. Hot water breaks down frozen ground into a slurry so it can be efficiently removed with the industrial vacuum.

It is also common for some construction sites to become less accessible in colder months. Hydrovac trucks can reach hundreds of feet making it much easier to access the area that needs excavated.

Potholing - Kinetic Industry
Denver, Colorado—Hydrovac contractor exposing underground utilities on a busy city street with a Hydrovac Truck.

Specialized Jobs Performed by Hydro Excavation Contractors

Up to this point, this article has focused on hydro excavation and other construction related services. Hydrovac trucks are versatile pieces of equipment and have proved their usefulness in many other applications.

Some of the non-construction related uses of hydrovac trucks include:

Railcar Cleaning

Crude, asphalt, ethanol, diesel, cement, sand, and malt are a few of the commodities hydrovacs clean out of railcars. Hydrovac trucks can even clean railcars to Kosher standards. One of the biggest benefits of hiring a hydro excavation contractor for this application is you won’t need to transport your empty railcars to a cleaning facility. The hydrovac operator and crew will drive to you.

Detention and Retention Pond Maintenance

Retention and detention ponds are mainly used to help manage excess stormwater runoff from residential neighborhoods, commercial properties, and industrial sites. Storing water temporarily during heavy storms reduces the risk of flood damage and costly repairs.

Pond maintenance is key to making sure retention and detention ponds function properly. The combined power of pressurized water and an industrial vacuum makes hydro excavation an ideal solution for removing sludge and debris as well as cleaning head walls, culverts, and catch basins.

Hydrovac trucks are able to work remotely, up to 500'. This makes them very useful for maintaining storm drains. Pressurized water can reach far into the drain to clear away buildup and debris that can cause flooding. Another benefit of working remotely is damage to the area surrounding the pond will be minimized.

Environmental Services / Spillage Clean Up

When spills occur, it is critical that they are contained quickly and safely. Hydrovac teams are quick to respond. Hydrovac trucks are self-contained units vacuuming hazardous materials safely from the spill area directly into the debris tank. These toxic materials are then transported to the appropriate facilities for disposal.

Railcar Cleaning - Kinetic Industry
Denver, Colorado—Hydrovac contractor cleaning railcars to Kosher standards with a Hydrovac Truck.

Hire a Hydro Excavation Contractor for Your Next Project

The benefits of working with a hydro excavation contractor on your next project are clear. If you are interested in working together, call our 24/7 dispatch at (720) 552-1221 or send us an email so we can learn more about your needs and provide you with a quote.