The hydro vacuum excavation services that our company offers come in handy in many different contexts, for many different types of clients. That’s because these services are totally safe for buried utilities, even sensitive lines like fiber optic cables. Over the years, Thompson Industrial Services has conducted many hydro vacuum excavation projects and has never yet damaged a utility line—despite the fact that we uncover those lines during nearly every project! This month, we wanted to highlight two recent projects that illustrate two very different applications for this flexible excavation approach.
Locating a water pipe leak using hydro vacuum excavation
Making Way for a PipelineDigging two holes in preparation for laying a new pipeline may not sound like a project that would require a specialized excavation approach. But it definitely is when the pipeline is being laid at a power plant! For the sake of safety, the preparation could not make use of traditional digging equipment, and that meant calling in the Thompson Industrial Services safe excavation team. Our job was to dig two holes, each measuring four feet deep and twelve feet in diameter, one hole at each end of the new pipeline at the point where it would tie into existing pipe. Clearly, it was very important to dig the holes without causing any damage to the pipe that was already in place. Our digging method, which uses pressurized water to loosen soil and then vacuums it away from the excavation site, quickly and safely did the job. There was an additional factor that threatened to complicate the project, though: once our team dug the holes, water began to fill them again. Fortunately, our hydro vacuum excavation equipment is also equipped to remove water from the excavation site, so we kept the holes clear and dry while workers installed the new pipeline. The client was very pleased with the results and has indicated an interest in working with Thompson in the future!Finding a Water LeakThe second of our hydro vacuum excavation projects involved, not a new pipeline installation, but locating a leak in an existing water pipeline. At another power plant, a water leak was negatively affecting production and it was essential to locate it quickly. Again, mechanical digging equipment was not an option, since it could easily damage pipelines even further. There were also buried power lines at risk, which would be disastrous to strike with a backhoe or even a hand shovel. Our hydro vacuum excavation team got to work, digging near the pipeline to pin down exactly where the leak was located. At one point along the pipeline, it was necessary to dig through a sidewalk—no problem for the highly pressurized water that we use in our excavation process. As of this blogpost’s writing, the project is still underway, although our team believes it has identified the source of the leak. Feedback from the client during the project has been very positive; as with most of our jobs, the employees at the facility have been surprised at the safety and speed with which our team has worked.Safe Digging for Different ProjectsThese two jobs illustrate the value of hydro vacuum excavation for projects at power plants, where mechanical equipment may not be used to dig on the property. But any time there are known utilities buried in the area, or there is the possibility that they may exist, our services can accomplish the necessary excavation without jeopardizing the lines. Another important application of this service is excavating in contamination-sensitive environments. As soil is loosened and removed from the site, our vacuum equipment contains and removes it, storing it for later disposal or for replacement once the work at the excavation site is complete.The companion application to our hydro vacuum excavation service is pneumatic vacuum excavation. This process comes into play when an environment is so sensitive that even the moisture created by pressurized water blasting is a problem. Pneumatic digging uses pressurized air instead of water and is also extremely gentle on utilities and communication lines.Contact us at Thompson Industrial Services for all of your safe excavation needs. Our experienced pneumatic and hydro vacuum excavation technicians are ready to assess your project and propose the safest, most efficient approach.
- Emily Martin
- Marketing Manager
- 100 N. Main Street
- Sumter, SC 29150
- (803) 773-8005