A very common requirement in new construction or in service of existing installations is the need for trenching. A trench is considered an excavation where the depth exceeds the width. It is typically used for the safe burial of utilities, piping, or materials to span distances between two objects where these items are rarely accessed after installation and are covered with soil or other materials to keep them protected from frost, water, contact, and movement from surrounding forces.
In many instances there are multiple items or services placed underground and the crossing or interaction of these services becomes complicated and congested while no longer visible to the naked eye. Trenching in open areas or virgin ground can often be done safely and efficiently with traditional methods such as mechanical excavators, trenching machines, even a shovel.
Unfortunately, when there is a need for trenching where the possibility exists that there are existing utilities or services in the area, these traditional methods are no longer suitable as they cannot accurately identify the location of these buried items and will typically damage or destroy them immediately upon contact. As a result, a safer or more gentle approach is required.
This is where a hydrovac can provide an excellent solution to not only excavate the required material to create the trench but can do so safely without damage. In addition, the hydrovac process will allow the operator to gently expose the underground utilities completely including under and around them in order to create a space for service or replacement of components if need be. This is often the process used to replace underground valves, connections, or splices as needed.
Another distinct advantage of the hydrovac method is that a targeted or minimal amount of material can be removed to prevent ground shifting which can create collateral damage to nearby utilities even if direct contact is not made. The added benefit is also less material required to back fill the trench and better compaction if less earth is removed from its original compacted state.
The hydrovac process is ultimately controlled by the operator and by varying the water pressure or vacuum levels on the truck the sensitivity of the dig can be adjusted to suit the sensitivity of the service as it is uncovered. From super narrow slot trenching, (as narrow as 2 inches) to large open trenches, the hydrovac process will accomplish both with ease and as safely as digging with your bare hands.
Another unique advantage of the hydrovac process over mechanical methods is the option of using remote hose to access any area that may not have any suitable access for larger machinery. The use of remote hose will allow access into existing structures, basements, or in extremely congested spaces where the only useable space may be room for the operator himself and these hoses.