Is hydro excavation good for the environment? 

Is hydro excavation good for the environment?

In the world of construction, you may have heard of the new innovative technique of excavation known as hydro or vacuum excavation. With the use of high-powered water and vacuumed air, operators can break away soil and rock into loose debris that can be picked up with a vacuum. Due to the non-invasive nature of hydro vacuum excavation, workers reduce the risk of breaking any underground services.

Not only are hydro excavators non-invasive, but they’re also highly accurate, efficient and environmentally friendly. Because they’re so environmentally friendly, they have become a popular choice, especially in nature reserves, rural and urban locations. We’re going to explore why that is in this article.

Doesn’t harm surrounding plants

Hydro excavators don’t use any hazardous substances to get the job done. All that’s involved is a vacuum tube and highly pressurised water. This means that there aren’t any dangerous materials seeping into the surrounding ground soil. Essentially, they’re just watering the plants.

Better recovery for surrounding plants

Trees don’t like it when their roots are damaged. Roots are the tree’s way of eating and drinking. If an excavator accidentally tears away a root system, there is a chance the tree or plant may not recover. This is especially bad in nature reserves or bushlands with native Australian plants.

Vacuum excavator operators will be able to see the root in the ground, and either avoid them or shift them to the side. If there is any damage done, the plant will still have a better chance of recovery compared to one that has had its roots broken by an excavator bucket.

Less surrounding surface damage

Traditional excavators require a lot of room to operate safely, and the large rubber tracks rip up any soil, turf or plants beneath it. A vacuum excavator sits in the same spot, whilst the operators suck up the material with the vacuum. The surrounding surface area will only have a track mark where the vacuum excavator was dropped off, as well as some footsteps around the hole the workers just dug.

Nulls the risk of contamination

Going back to the main key benefit of hydro excavators is that they’re a lot more gentle than a traditional mechanically operated excavator. With a typical excavator, there is a higher risk of breaking whatever may be underground, such as a sewage pipe. Sewage is devastating to the environment and should be avoided at all costs. Hydro excavators don’t have the power to breach any pipes, meaning that the risk of breaking them and contaminating the soil is minimal.

Debris is stored responsibly

Excavating a site is messy and dirty, there isn’t any way around that. Typically, any soil, rocks, debris, rubbish, cement are dumped into a big pile either next to the hole or on the back of a truck. There is a problem with both these methods. Piling dirt up next to the hole will damage any plants, or grass beneath it. To combat this, excavators store the material on the back of a truck. When dirt is stored on the back of an open-top truck, there is a high chance a fair bit of it will get blown off as the truck drives down the road. This isn’t so good if the soil has some hazardous substance to it, such as oil or pesticides.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to keep a site cleaner and reduce contamination in surrounding areas. A vacuum excavator stores all the debris and material inside a tank, much in the same way your vacuum cleaner stores dust and dirt. The material won’t be able to spill out onto the roads and contaminate any surrounding areas, as the tank is sealed.