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Why Suction Excavator Contractors
Are Digging The Profits


Why Use a Suction Excavator?

Public works departments, companies and contractors face extraordinary challenges during trenching and excavation operations. Buried telecommunications lines, sewer pipes, and gas lines create hazardous working conditions.

With ever more congested infrastructure and government regulations demanding safer work environments, the suction excavator (or vacuum excavator) is gaining in acceptance and popularity. Trenching and excavation around gas lines and telecommunication trunks pose particular challenges and hazards that, if not addressed correctly, could result in costly damages and downtime.

How a Suction Excavator Works

By using a high velocity air current through an air or water spray nozzle to loosen the ground, this machine removes the excavation material through a water suction hose and boom.


Suction ExcavatorThe vacuum tank truckvacuum tank truck collects the heavy material and any additional particles are dropped out of the air flow by contacting a set of reversing plates inside the main air duct. A micromesh filter system captures any remaining small particles making sure that the final air flow being released from the system is clean and free of any dust.


Unlike mechanical excavation, suction excavation is nondestructive. The suction excavator is designed to dig a hole in the ground, but to do so in such a way as to prevent damaging anything buried in the ground such as utilities.

The Power of Compressed Air

Vacuum ExcavationSoils contain minute fissures and cracks. High speed compressed air streams through an air nozzle at 250 PSI digging into microscopic soil pockets. These pockets explode from the energy built up from the forced compressed air, crumbling soil and leaving it dry for vacuuming and backfilling. As air reaches a cable or utility the airstream hits its non-porous shielding, compresses and harmlessly flows around it.

The soil is loosened by using either high pressure air or a water spray nozzlewater spray nozzle (in more difficult soil conditions). It is lifted by suction pump and hose and stored in a vacuum tank truck, where it can be used as backfill or hauled away for proper disposal.


Main Advantages

  • Suction excavation is at least 50% faster than mechanical excavation and trenching
  • Smaller work site footprint, giving less impact on traffic disruption and congestion
  • Soil rehabilitation or remediation gives cleaner, faster finished project
  • Digging precision reduces soil volume during excavation
  • Increased construction site safety


Job Site Safety Advantages

  • Far less incidences of damaged infrastructure;
  • Worker safety improved;
  • Less insurance claims for damaged infrastructure.

Underground infrastructures are becoming increasingly crowded even in isolated or remote areas, concealing major gas or telecommunication lines. Public agencies and contractors prefer to avoid costly downtimes that are a result of striking and damaging the infrastructure.

A suction excavator is a non-destructive excavator

A vacuum truck manufacturer will argue the merits of air vacuum excavation versus hydro vac excavation and take digs at each other. Below are the arguments for air vacuum excavators.  


  • Eliminates continuous transport and disposal of mud spoils and water supplies;
  • Spoils remain dry for efficient, fast backfilling;
  • More uptime on the worksite means reduce job costs and increased revenues and profits.


Construction Site Safety:

  • Air compresses and won’t damage utilities and is nonconductive. Unlike water, a non-compressible fluid, that can cut or damage utilities;
  • Water is conductive, creating potentially dangerous events around underground electrical utilities -  air excavation reduces potential for injuries and reduces damage claims, therefore resulting in increased revenues and profits;
  • Air will not damage the road base or spread contamination plumes or be causes of water pollution.
Suction Excavator CrewSuction Excavator Crew

Use a suction excavator for:

  • Underground utility locates and verification;
  • Daylighting,  trenching and excavation;
  • Natural gas pipeline,ball joint leak repair;
  • Cathodic protection installation;
  • Gas or water line service terminations and installations;
  • Manways and valve box cleaning and maintenance.



Forward thinking public agencies, companies and contractors who serve them are adopting the suction excavator as the new standard in construction productivity and safety.

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