Hydro Excavation Can Prevent a Costly Mistake

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You’ve got excavation work to do on your industrial facility’s grounds. You know there are underground utilities nearby. Underground utilities are supposed to be at a certain buried depth, but different utilities have different depths, or the depth could have changed due to backfilling of the area. You know, a mistake in digging could be costly and even dangerous and you don’t know what might have happened between installation and now. How do you know someone didn’t do something janky to save time and expense to bury the utility line?

You are almost sure you know where it is safe to dig because you have done these things first:

1. You have walked around the site looking for visual clues that you can see, like access plates, valves above ground, warning flags, and signs.
2. You have called 811 to engage a utility locating company. They have been out and used either an electromagnetic locating device or a ground penetrating radar device and found nothing near where you need to excavate.

You still feel like you are safe to excavate. But are you sure?

Blackwell’s, Inc. Says This Is What Else You Might Need to Know

● Electromagnetic locating devices use an electric current to energize a buried metallic utility cable or pipe, creating an electromagnetic field. What if the pipe is non-metallic?
● Ground-penetrating radar locating devices measure a change in the density of materials underground and then reflect that information back to the locator’s antenna. This method is most accurate in loose, dry, and sandy soil. But what if the soil is dense and wet and absorbs the radar signal instead of reflecting it back like clay soil can?
● What if a fiber optic cable is buried near where you need to excavate? Fiberoptic cables require even more specialized locating equipment.
● Underground utility cables and pipes do not always run in a straight line. They may branch off from the main line in other directions, and they do not always remain at the same depth in the ground.
● When you know where your industrial facility’s underground utilities are found, and you will be digging near them, taking the next few steps might prevent a costly mistake.

Blackwell’s, Inc. Suggests You Do This:


Potholing to find underground utility lines.

1. Pothole (i.e., make exploratory holes) to determine if utilities run higher or lower in the ground.
2. Excavate to the side of the utility and not directly above the utility.
3. Excavate across the utility and not along the length of the utility.
4. Use a vacuum truck and water excavation (hydro excavation) instead of a backhoe to excavate. If excavation is needed, Blackwell’s, Inc.’s hydro excavation services bring the power of high-pressure water excavation (hydro excavation) and the ability to vacuum and remove both wet and dry materials from your industrial site.

How Does Hydro Excavation Work?

Instead of using mechanical equipment like a backhoe to excavate, the vacuum truck uses high-pressure water (hydro excavation) to loosen and blast away the soil covering the underground utilities. The water under the high pressures these trucks can generate easily cuts through thick layers of grass and groundcovers on the soil surface and through hard-packed clay and rocky soils. At the same time that the water is loosening the soil, the industrial vacuum removes the loosened soil, which is now a watery and muddy slurry, to expose the underground utilities.

It’s Almost Like Playing in the Mud!

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Hydro excavation to completely expose utility lines.

Now is where hydro excavation really beats using a backhoe for excavation work. If using a backhoe to expose the utilities, digging around and below the utilities requires careful use of shovels and other hand tools to remove the soil around them. Not so with hydro excavation. The high-pressure water and vacuuming does that work precisely and without damaging the utilities. It’s almost like playing in the mud!

Our vacuum trucks are some of the most advanced vacuum trucks anywhere in the world. These trucks have definite advantages over using a backhoe or shoveling:
● High pressure 4,000 psi water at 14 gpm, heated with a 440,000 BTU heater.
● 5,700 CFM industrial vacuum.

● Hydro excavation all but eliminates damage to underground utilities.
● Minimally invasive. Collateral damage to the surrounding landscape is negligible.
● Confined excavation can be done up to five hundred feet from the truck.

Building on a Tradition of Excellence:

Like Blackwell’s, Inc. is known for improving manufacturing facilities, we bring the same commitment to quality, safety, and efficiency to our air and hydro excavation services. We understand the importance of protecting your site, so we use meticulous care and ability – just like in our other industrial services –
to ensure a smooth operation that adheres to OSHA regulations and guidelines.

Our Guarantee:

● Accurate and Safe: Our air and hydro excavation methods are designed to safeguard underground utilities, minimizing disruptions and keeping everyone safe.
● Fast and Flawless: Just like with our industrial services solutions, we prioritize long-lasting results and operational excellence for your excavation project.

Contact our team at Blackwell’s, Inc. for more information on Hydro Excavation. 





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