Vacuum Excavation

Published: February 27, 2019 | Last updated: July 5, 2023

What Does Vacuum Excavation Mean?

Vacuum excavation is a non-destructive excavation (NDE) method of utility detection. It is a potholing technique and is used to verify the location of a detected utility. Vacuum excavation is carried out by simultaneously shooting compressed air jets and removing excavated material by vacuum action. An approximate area of 1’ x 1’ is dug at the point indicated by the locator.

Since no water, mechanical devices or blades are used, the vacuum excavation process is safe for the utility as well as the operator.


Trenchlesspedia Explains Vacuum Excavation

Vacuum excavation uses pressurized jets of water to break up the targeted ground. Sand, clay and rocks can be excavated using this method which simultaneously uses vacuum to siphon the debris into a container. The vacuum excavation method doesn't cause any damage to the utility and is safe for the utility as well as the operator.

Gas lines, water and sewer pipes, telecommunication ducts and power lines can all be safely located and identified using vacuum excavation. Other locating methods such as ground penetrating radar (GPR), pipe and cable locators, radio frequency identification (RFID) are first used to identify the approximate location of the utility line.

Vacuum excavation is then carried out to verify the exact location of the utility.



Suction Excavation

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