Hydro Excavation is a very efficient system of digging that targets high-pressure water to break soil masses apart, and then applies a powerful air vacuum to suck up the debris and transport it off-site to a debris tank. And its use is becoming increasingly popular for a variety of reasons in utilities, plumbing, installation, landscaping and construction job sites.
Compared to traditional digging methods, this system is a lot more cost-effective because it does not require as much manpower (for manual shovel digging, for example) or heavy equipment (like backhoes).
It is non-mechanical, eco-friendly and safe, and it gets the job done faster, with minimized impact on the surrounding environment.
But how did hydrovacs and the concept of Hydro Excavation evolve?
Here is a brief history:
Hydro Excavation has a back story that is closely tied with the Gold Rush in California that took place between 1848-1855. A James W. Marshall discovered gold in Coloma, CA, in January of 1848, and the news spread so quickly that over 300,000 people from the U.S. and abroad poured into the state with dreams of discovering gold for themselves.
A total of $ 2 billion worth of precious metal was extracted during the Gold Rush, which peaked in 1852, and a lot of indigenous excavation systems were tested and tried to work larger areas in the shortest possible time.
One of these systems, called Hydraulic Mining, used steam pump-pressurized water to break up soil much faster than manual digging could ever accomplish.
The Gold Rush started phasing out by 1855, but the idea of Hydraulic Mining remained. Its incredible potential in excavation applications was pretty obvious, and with growing technology, the first Hydro Excavation machine – called the ExcaVactor – was built in 1969.
During the next ten years or so, vacuum trucks and sewer cleaners were adapted for hydro excavation use. The vacuum equipment was removed from these vehicles and installed in all-terrain vehicles, so they could be used in remote, hard-to-reach job sites.
By 1990, Hydro Excavation machines had become more sophisticated as companies began to manufacture trailer-mounted units and trucks to accommodate them.
Today, their utilization has become abundant in the United States and Canada. More and more companies are offering Hydro Excavation services because the advantages of this system are undeniable, and in the coming years, we expect the technology to improve even further to make excavation and soil removal even faster, easier and safer for both workers and the environment.
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