Vacuum Excavation

While there are are several methods of excavation, most people picture the excavation process as something done with large earth-movers. However, while such machinery is ideal for open, unimproved land, their use can sometimes do more harm than good when the excavation project is to be completed in areas where some infrastructure already exists. So, what is there to do? Finding a group of men with shovels is impractical, and would take far too long besides, and we all know time is money…. happily, vacuum excavation is here to save the day!

As has been said, vacuum excavation is ideal for areas with pre-existing infrastructure, particularly where said infrastructure consists of utilities like electricity and water. When an excavation project is planned for a built-up residential or commercial area where utilities are already in place, it is vital that you first ascertain their location. Blindly digging can cause service interruptions, costly repair bills, or even present a hazardous working environment in the form of danger from electrocution. Even after power and water grids have been mapped out, floods (from ruptured water delivery systems) and costly repairs can still present themselves if traditional methods of excavation are used.

In an effort to overcome these difficulties, many construction / excavation companies are making the switch to vacuum excavation techniques. Comprised of a powerful "air-lance" and a suction tube, soil is first loosened and dislodged from the excavation site, then sucked into a holding tank. This system of earth removal presents several advantages over traditional methods. Chief among them is the fact that the vacuum excavation apparatus never makes contact with the ground, ensuring that only dirt, and not power or water lines, are removed. Furthermore, the materials used in constructing the vacuum system itself are non-conductive, negating the risk of electric shock present in most traditional excavation methods.

The greatest drawback of air vacuum excavation, as with all newer technological advancements, is cost. This is particularly true for the smaller contractor, who often must take out loans to get their business "on its feet". As a result, most vacuum excavation setups are the provenance of large, specialized firms, or utility providers.

That being said, if your pockets are deep enough, or your project particularly complex, consider using vacuum excavation for your next project - you won't be disappointed.

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