hydrovac excavation in Calgary

Hydrovac vs. Traditional Excavation: Making the Right Choice

By Hydrovac Calgary   |   Hydrovac Excavation   |   0 Comments   |   21 August, 2023   |   0

When excavation is needed around buried utilities, structures, or sensitive areas, the excavation method is an important decision. Hydrovac excavation in Calgary provides a safe, non-destructive vacuum excavation option that is gaining popularity over traditional excavation methods.

What is Hydrovac Excavation in Calgary?

Hydrovac uses highly pressurized water and powerful suction to break up soil and safely expose buried pipes and cables. The slurry is transferred into the hydrovac truck, leaving a clean, precise excavation area. Hydrovac excavation in Calgary is especially useful around sensitive utility lines since it can excavate with minimal disturbance.

Benefits of Hydrovac Excavation


  • The water jet process prevents damage to nearby structures or utilities during digging. The risk of an unsafe trench collapse is also avoided.


  • Operators have excellent control over the excavation process, enabling precise uncovering of targets. Hydrovac can dig within inches of pipes or cables.


  • Unlike backhoes or jackhammers, hydrovac equipment will not nick or break what lies beneath. This is critical around fiber optic lines or other fragile utilities.


  • Hydrovac excavates and loads material in one seamless process. The excavated slurry is neatly contained. Site cleanup and restoration is faster.


  • Hydrovac trucks can access areas hard to reach by backhoes and other large equipment. They also don’t need extensive digging room.

What is Traditional Excavation?

Traditional excavation typically uses a backhoe or similar heavy digging equipment. The machinery removes material layer-by-layer until the desired depth is reached. This technique relies on the operator’s judgment and skill to avoid hitting underground utilities.

Downsides of Traditional Excavation

Safety hazards

  • Risk of striking and damaging gas or electric lines during digging. Trench collapses are also a concern.


  • Backhoes cannot easily make controlled, narrow excavations. Surrounding areas often get over-dug.

Potential utility strikes

  • Direct digging contact increases the chance of inadvertently breaking utility lines or fiber optic cables.

Messy process

  • Excess spoil is created since excavated material is hauled offsite. More cleanup and restoration is required.

Access limitations

  • Large excavators may be unable to dig in tight spaces or close to buildings and foundations.

Choosing the Right Method

For safe, low-impact excavations near critical infrastructure, hydrovac excavation in Calgary is the preferred choice. In open areas where extensive digging is needed, traditional backhoe excavation can be more efficient. For optimal results, many contractors use a combination of hydrovac and traditional excavation depending on site conditions and project scope. Working with experienced professionals like Hydrovac Calgary ensures the right equipment and methods are used for the job.



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