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Hydro Excavation


Potholing and daylighting are two terms that are associated with hydro excavation. These two processes allow digging without posing the potential risks that traditional excavation techniques. The practice of potholing or daylighting is where a test hold is dug in order to expose underground utilities and determine their vertical and horizontal location. Traditional excavation utilizes a backhoe, which is a high risk practice and cumbersome, or hand digging which is extremely time consuming and labor intensive. Hydro excavation is now the best method for potholing or daylighting.

The process of hydro excavation allows underground utilities to be found void of the risks inherent with traditional mechanical or manual excavation methods. This is based on the process that hydro excavation is a non-destructive, non-mechanical process. Potholing is also used for a cost and time saving method for digging and installing fences, telephone poles, signs, and other utilitarian items. Hydro excavation allows companies to use the pressurized water injected in the ground to safely remove the soil from the desired areas. Since the slurry is moved from the site directly to the truck, there is no waste or clean up necessary. The non-destructive process of hydro excavation eliminates the potential of damaging pipes and damaged pipes. This process provides an accurate excavation based on location, depth, and type of utility. This process minimizes site restoration expense and time.

Daylighting is the same type of process when exploratory maintenance work is necessary and can be done quickly and efficiently through the hydro excavation process. It provides access to explore underground pipes and identify potential impending problems. It also alleviates the pitfalls of potential structural damage and broken lines that occurred with the traditional excavation methods.


Trenching is one of the more common methods of hydro excavations. There are several different types of trenching which are utilized depending on the need. There is slot, box, cross, perimeter, and exploratory trenching. Each type of trenching requires variations that suits a specific scope of work. Hydro excavation trenching allows the uses of pressurized water to cut a straight-ling or circuitous ditch of various specs and dimensions in the ground.

The trenching begins with a simple pot hole. The manual or mechanical system is place in the designated location, and the operator excavates straight down into the ground. The depth is determined from the scope of work and typically sets a grade in order for the trench to follow. This process allows for straight-line cutting for exploring prior to auguring foundation pier shafts. This is done for electrical conduit racks and above-ground pipelines. This process of hydro excavation trenching provides a method for underground installation of important utilities to vital surfaces with a lack of destruction.

Construction crews will strive to create trenches that allow careful exploration of an area prior to installing any type of utilities or pipelines. Engineers of a project may require several types of trenching which can include cross trenching, narrow trenching, or slot trenching to dictate the best process during a dig. For example, slot trenches would best suit the installation of utilities, cables, and other pipes. Out of all the trenches, slot trenches can be the most dangerous because they are most likely to cause damage. This can be an efficient method for installing sprinklers or other similar products. This is also a method that is ideal for cold weather or frozen surface installation. When working to create trenches, construction agents must be precise and consider multiple factors including the type of ground they are working, the substance that has to be installed and the quickest method of installation.