Hydrovac excavation is the new standard when it comes to digging in the vicinity of underground infrastructure. Also known as “vacuum excavation, hydrovac is defined as a mechanical means of soil extraction through vacuum when using water jet devices for breaking ground. This method of excavation is commonly referred to as ‘soft excavation technology’ and is commonly accepted as being equivalent or safer than hand digging within the ‘tolerance zone’ around underground facilities.” (source: ORCGA Best Practice Guide version 7.0)
Hydrovac excavation is a proven, safe digging method, however, locates are still required when using a soil vacuum truck. There has been a general misconception that hydrovacing does not require locates, but this is not the case. Locates can never be ignored; they are still required before any excavation can begin.
In our last blog post we talked about the ORCGA and the symposium they held in February. The ORCGA is a strong advocate for safe digging and for the importance of acquiring locates before any digging project. Protecting underground utilities is of the utmost importance, therefore the combination of obtaining valid locates and using hydrovac excavation as the preferred method of digging is key in today’s construction industry.
Super Sucker Hydro Vac Service requires locates for every job. In addition to the traditional locate, obtained through Ontario One Call, we also use Alternate Locate Agreements (ALAs), which speed up the process immensely. Make sure you stay tuned for our next blog post, which will explain ALAs in more detail.