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Pneumatic or Hydro Vacuum Excavation?

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When it comes to excavating, there are a few different methods that can be used. Some people might choose to use a pneumatic excavator, while others might choose to use a hydro vacuum excavator.

So, which one is better? Well, that depends on your needs and what you’re looking for in an excavator. Here is a closer look at both types of excavation, so you can decide for yourself.


  1. What’s the Difference Between Pneumatic and Hydro Vacuum Excavation? 
  2. Clean Digging delivered by a Vacuum Option
  3. Common Projects for Vacuum Excavation Services 

Industrial facilities of all kinds, across the United States, have a big problem in common. This problem is huge, sprawling, complicated, expensive…and invisible until it is too late to avoid it. It’s the issue of buried utilities, which add a hazardous dimension to development projects that require digging either on a facility’s property or in areas that are completely unfamiliar.

Of course, many utilities are clearly identified on property maps or can be located with special equipment. But in many other cases, a property is too old to have reliable maps, maps may have been lost long ago, or the area’s utilities have simply never been recorded accurately. In these cases, starting an excavation project means launching a dangerous, tedious, slow, and expensive process.

Fortunately, pneumatic and hydro vacuum excavation services offer a welcome solution to this problem. 

What’s the Difference Between Pneumatic and Hydro Vacuum Excavation? 

Pneumatic vacuum excavation services use highly pressurized air to excavate soil, sand, and even rocks while safely uncovering any utilities that are hidden below the surface. Even sensitive communication lines like fiber optics are not damaged by pneumatic excavation, especially when the equipment is handled by technicians with years of experience and a thorough knowledge of best practices.

Hydro vacuum excavation is similar, but uses pressurized water instead of air to move soil and other substances. While both services are efficient and safe for utilities, hydro vacuum excavation works more quickly and is normally the preferred method.

However, in some settings it is undesirable or unacceptable to introduce moisture to the environment, and the use of water can create instability in the area immediately surrounding the excavation site. When these concerns are major factors, pneumatic vacuum excavation accomplishes the objective while staying within the facility’s safety parameters. 

Clean Digging delivered by a Vacuum Option

Whether your excavation job calls for hydro or pneumatic services, the “vacuum” component of our solution may come into play to solve another problem—this one located above ground instead of below the surface. Instead of piling up mud, sand, and stone near the dig site, our equipment is able to collect all the substance loosened during the excavation and keep it contained, preventing it from affecting the immediate environment.

When the work below the surface is complete, the soil can either be replaced to fill in the excavation site or taken off site to be disposed of according to the client’s needs. This vacuum option is particularly valuable for projects at nuclear or “ultra-clean” manufacturing facilities, where contamination of the environment during excavation would jeopardize quality. 

Common Projects for Vacuum Excavation Services 

All over the southeastern United States and beyond, our pneumatic and hydro vacuum excavation services have accelerated complex digging projects of many different types. Two of the most common jobs that our excavation division handles are potholing and trenching.

During nearly every potholing, trenching, or other excavation project that we conduct, our equipment uncovers utilities or other buried elements that were not clearly identified prior to the start of the dig. Despite this fact, our teams boast a 100% safety record when it comes to protecting those buried elements and preventing damage. 

Client Confidence 

Our perfect safety record gives our new clients a high degree of confidence when they engage us to plan and execute a pneumatic or hydro vacuum excavation job for them. At the end of the job, when the financial and other benefits of using this efficient, safe digging service are evident, it becomes even more obvious that they made a great decision.

We have published numerous success stories detailing the ability of these services to solve a wide range of excavation problems in various contexts. We also highlight the service and our ongoing development of our equipment and techniques as we communicate with our valued clients, both remotely and at industry conferences throughout the year. 

Vacuum Excavation Services 

Our vacuum excavation services combine power and flexibility for an approach that serves our clients exceptionally well.  When we encounter unexpected conditions, our teams know how to re-assess the situation, consider alternative equipment and techniques, and decide on a new approach that will get the job done despite the new factors that they must take into account.

We invite you to ask us for more information about our pneumatic and hydro vacuum excavation services.

Please email or call us today to schedule an appointment with our experts.