5 Things to Expect from Professional Vacuum Excavation

hydro vacuum excavation

When managing a construction site, there’s a good chance that you will need to locate underground utility lines. A big decision to make is which construction method to use to locate these lines. From backhoes to utility potholing, there are a lot of utility locating services out there. 

By far, the most precise method is hydro vacuum excavation. This method is far less invasive than others and uses water pressure to clear away the earth from the utility lines. Not only is this process incredibly accurate, but it is also efficient and cost-effective.

What Can You Expect from Professional Vacuum Excavation?

1 – Efficiency

Time is money, and this is especially true on a construction site. Project timelines have to be met, and potholing utilities can help make this happen.

While some people opt to dig for utility lines by hand because it is a cheap option, it is so time-consuming and labor-intensive that it can actually be more costly in the long run.

Backhoes are another common method used and are certainly efficient. However, the wayward nature of a backhoe can make them difficult to use, which means a utility strike is more likely. When a utility line is struck, it can result in delays while repairs are being carried out.

These are just a few reasons why vacuum excavation is so time-efficient. With a highly-trained team, vacuum excavation takes less time without the risk of a utility line strike or other damage to the construction site. And because less earth is displaced during the process, you can continue other construction work nearby.

2 – Safety

The safety of your workers and the public is of the utmost importance for any construction project. You can expect that our experienced team will keep your construction site safe while carrying out the vacuum excavation.

While you could buy or rent the vacuum excavation equipment, if your team is not adequately trained, it can lead to damage to either the utility lines or the equipment itself. You might also be putting your team at risk, which should never happen.

A utility strike can also cause the surrounding community to lose power. That means important public facilities like hospitals, schools, and police departments won’t be able to function properly. Your construction site will be liable for this disruption and damage, which can mean hefty fines.

Instead of risking it, hire a trained team with years of experience who will quickly and safely excavate your utilities.

3 – Expertise

When you hire a team to carry out hydro vacuum excavation, you can expect them to be highly trained and fully qualified for this work. This is so important when you consider the many risks involved when locating utilities.

The Util-locate team uses a variety of methods and techniques to provide you with the most stress-free and efficient experience. Vacuum excavation is so accurate because it offers visual confirmation of where the utility lines are.

However, before this even happens, you can also take advantage of our utility mapping services. Detailed and accurate maps show everything that might be hiding under the surface: storm drains, gas, water, reclaim, communication, electrical, abandoned, and unknown lines or objects.

Once you have access to a utility map, you can also use Ground Penetration Radar (GPR). GPR uses pulses of energy to provide an impression of where utility lines are located.

Following these techniques, it is still recommended that you carry out vacuum excavation. Visual confirmation will ensure that you know exactly where the utility lines are and removes all risk of accidentally striking a utility line.

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4 – Precision 

One of the best things you can expect from vacuum excavation is a precise and thorough service. When potholing for utilities, accuracy is the primary and most important goal. You want to confirm exactly where the utility lines are located, and this is only possible through methods of excavation.

As we’ve already discussed, other forms of excavation like backhoes or manual excavation might reveal where the utilities are, but they can be costly and end up damaging the utility lines in the process.

An experienced team will offer you a variety of utility location services. That means accurate mapping, RADAR technology, and hydro vacuum excavation are made available for your construction project.

Hydro vacuum excavation is especially useful because of how it displaces the excavated earth. Typically the earth will be removed into a special container, making removal and disposal a simple and easy process.

5 – Cost-Efficiency

Of course, it is only natural to want to keep costs down so that your construction project can adhere to the projected budget. Vacuum excavation is a great way to prevent unexpected costs that could arise from a utility strike. 

There is a good chance that if you damage a utility line, you will either be fined by the local authority or have to pay for extensive and pricey repairs. Costs like this aren’t always factored into the budget for smaller construction projects and can cause serious financial burden and stress.

Utility potholing is also very efficient, which means an estimated timeline for the work is usually very accurate. You won’t have to worry about renting the equipment and hiring a team for longer than expected, saving you both time and money. What’s more, you can continue other construction jobs alongside the excavation so that more work gets done.

The Bottom Line

Potholing for utilities has been proven to be the most accurate method of utility locating. When hiring a professional team, you can expect the process to be straightforward and pain-free. The work will be done efficiently, accurately, and safely, which means your construction project will save both time and money by investing in vacuum excavation.

Save More in 2020 with Vacuum Excavation

utility excavation

Whether you are in the middle of a construction project or just about to embark on one, one of your main concerns is likely keeping to a strict budget. Construction projects big and small can be expensive and time-consuming, but by utilizing the newest and most reputable technologies, you can end up saving a lot of money in 2020. One of the best techniques available for the early stages of a project is utility potholing using vacuum excavation.

This is the most reliable and safest way to locate utility lines, which means you won’t run the risk of causing extensive—and expensive—damage to water, gas, or other energy lines.

Keep reading to learn about the process of vacuum excavation, the benefits it will bring to your construction project, and our top tips and tricks on how to introduce potholing into your project.

What is Utility Locating and Excavation?

Any construction project that requires digging underground at all will benefit from utility potholing. Essentially, it is a method of locating the utility lines that run beneath the construction site. You have to locate these utilities for a variety of reasons: in order to connect the new property to these lines and to prevent damaging them in the construction process.

Typically, utility lines provide power and water to a large surrounding area, especially in urban zones. Therefore, any damage to the lines can result in extensive interruption of utility services to important buildings like hospitals and schools. If your construction team is found to be the cause of this damage, you will be handed a hefty fine and repairs to the utility lines will severely affect your deadlines.

These are worst-case scenarios, but they are very possible when poor methods are used to locate utility lines. Vacuum excavation is both extremely accurate and very gentle so there is no risk to the lines. This method uses the vacuum to gently apply air or water pressure to the area of land being excavated so that the earth is removed from the lines. When using air pressure, the earth is simply moved to another area which means it can be used later in the construction process, saving you money on materials later on.

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Why is Utility Potholing Better?

Compared with other methods of utility excavation, potholing is cost-effective, efficient, and by far the most accurate option. Many people have stopped using backhoes because of their wayward nature. When they are not operated by a very experienced professional, there is a much higher risk of a utility line being struck and damaged.

Another alternative is excavation by hand, but this simply is not practical for large scale projects due to how time-consuming and physically exhausting this work is. In fact, excavating with a trowel or shovel only appears to be the cheapest option. When you factor in labor and time costs, it is comparable with hiring out professional equipment.

Top 3 Benefits of Vacuum Excavation

If you still need more convincing, here are our top 3 reasons why vacuum excavation is the best choice for your construction project:


When you are utility locating, accuracy is the most important factor. Knowing the precise location of utility lines will benefit your build site and avoid the risk of damaging the lines. Using just a backhoe or trowels means your crew will be digging blindly and if they do not apply enough caution, extensive damage can occur.

Vacuum excavation removes this likelihood of human error, which will give you peace of mind and protect you from the risk of big fines.


it is also well-known in construction that time is money! When you are working to a tight deadline, you don’t want to be hampered by time-consuming methods or, worse, repairs. Vacuum excavation, when carried out by a professional team, can be an exceptionally efficient process.

When coupled with RADAR technology, the process is further streamlined because there is a preliminary awareness of the utility line locations.


Vacuum excavation does require paying more for the equipment and professional team. However, this upfront investment will actually save you money in the long run. This is because you altogether avoid the risk of damaging the lines and therefore won’t have to pay large fines or expensive repairs.

These costs would more than exceed the price of hiring a utility potholing team.

Tips and Safety Measures

As with any method and equipment used on a construction site, certain safety measures must be followed. We would recommend taking the following steps to ensure that your experience with vacuum excavation is as great as we know it can be.

Plan Ahead

Before you hire your potholing team, you should take a few precautionary steps. That means, utilizing RADAR technology to have a general understanding of where you want the vacuum excavation to take place. This will greatly assist the team you hire so that they can perform their job as quickly and thoroughly as possible.

Hire Specialists

It is highly recommended that you do not just rent out the potholing equipment because it is still a new tool and not all crew members will have enough training or knowledge of how it works.

Instead, opt for hiring a professional team who can bring and operate their own equipment. This will remove the risk of an unexpected accident and ensures that the equipment is not used improperly.

Choosing vacuum excavation is a great choice for anyone who wants a more affordable and accurate utility locating experience. You won’t have to deal with any costly delays and repairs, and you will save money by hiring a professional team to carry out the work for you!