What is a Hydro-Excavator?

Definition of Hydro-Excavator in Construction
A hydro excavator is a piece of excavating equipment that is designed to utilize the force of water to break down the soil, together with a suction hose, to excavate the broken down earth, into a tank located on the back of the hydro excavator.

There are several different manufacturers of hydro excavators as well as several different companies, specializing in hydro excavating. The use of hydro excavating is generally associated with existing utility excavation and investigation.

The positive results of the hydro excavator is the non- destructive results of the excavation. Due to the use of water to break down the soil as well as suction to remove the material from the excavation, there is no destructive backhoe blade or hard shovel blades involved.

The negative of the hydro excavator, is that it is limited to types of soil that are easily broken down by the water and small enough in particle size to fit up the suction hose, which varies in diameter, but is normally an 8″ diameter hose. In addition the amount of excavation is limited to the size of the debris tank on the truck, which must be dumped upon filling, causing delays in the excavation.

The use of the hydro excavator for other applications is also becoming popular. The newly developed industry of fracking uses the hydro excavator to simply suck the fluids used in the operation out of the drilled holes. The ability of the hydro excavator as simply a vacuum for cleaning of porous asphalt or large artificial turf fields are other applications of the equipment. In addition, the hydro excavator has the capacity to remove material from excavations that are difficult to reach with standard excavating equipment. The ability to excavate from over 400 lineal feet away is beneficial when opening up earth trenches or excavating foundations within existing structures.