Hydro-Excavate, Hydro-Excavation, Soft dig, potholing, daylighting, vacuum boring, vacuum excavation, S.U.E., utility location, remote digging, hydro vac, frozen dig, cold weather excavation
The beginnings of this process are probably as old as the earth. Moving earth with water is commonly referred to as erosion. If free-flowing water can create land erosion, then the Hydro-Excavation process can be called controlled erosion. Some of the first documented cases of this took place in California by the gold rushers in the mid- to late-1800's. A common practice was to use steam pump-pressurized water to erode land masses, and then screen the slurry to capture the gold. This process is referred to as Hydraulic Mining. The severe environmental impact still effects our water today.

The physical labor used to mine the gold was often subject to unsafe conditions, unshored/unsloped pits, cave-ins were prevalent and unfortunately, so were deaths.

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The next hundred years would posess many breakthroughs for this type of controlled erosion excavation. Thirty years ago the vacuum device needed to remove the slurry was mounted on a truck. Now, with the portability of the vacuum device, Hydro-Excavation is a reality.
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Further improvements would come in the form of better water pressure systems, more efficient vacuum systems and the addition of hot water to facilitate digging in frozen conditions. These technological advances translate into worker, public and environmental safety. Dangerous digging events can now be safely excavated by promoting this safe digging process.