Vacuum Excavation Best Practices and Guidelines
Posted: Nov 13, 2017
Vacuum excavation is a process of soil excavation through vacuum by using pressured water or air for an excavating hole in order to loosen the dirt. Also known as hydro excavation this safe technique is widely accepted for utilities explosion and avoiding damages as one of the safest methods of detection. It is a fact that this process continues to grow with high success ratio and no damages whatsoever. Secondary, the process is applicable on all utilities such as gas, terminal distribution systems, water and other fiber optic. Vacuum excavation is far less disruptive and safer way which helps to avoid costly and catastrophic damages to utilities as it provides a reduction of undone surprises.
Vacuum excavation utilizes non mechanical, non-destructive sources for safely exploring. Pressured air or water has been specially used to break up the soil and to expose high value utilities. After the soil is loosened vacuum is used to remove the material from the surface and store it offside the site into a transportation vehicle where it can be used as a backfill. The equipment is non-mechanical so the chances to damage a utility such as water or gas line are dramatically reduced. As evidence, utility contractors are well trained to operate in accordance with the manufacturer operating guidelines. This process allows digging into any type of soil, including rocks, sand or frozen earth. This means that only knowledgably employees operate the equipment. Furthermore the tools that have been used are specially designed for excavating facilities. Utility contractors work very closely with industry and administration agencies - well informed of new technologies and security standards to ensure the highest levels of service and safety.
Vacuum excavation technology has been around in some shape or form since the 1950s. It is also important to use equipment designed especially for the application and to read the owner’s manual before taking the machines out on a job. It is not a rare case to see homemade digging lances or vacuum tubes that do no utilize proper protective coatings. One of the biggest safety concerns is that the digging nozzles need to be protected at the end with a non-conductive coating. Similarly, vacuum tubes should be protected on the end with a soft, non-conductive end to prevent damages to underground utilities. Utilizing steel crowned ends can cause damage to underground facilities and should never be used during vacuum excavation. When employed properly, vacuum excavation is the only way to excavate safely, especially around buried utilities.
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