vacuum truckVacuum trucks are well known for cleaning drainage systems and sewer lines, primarily because they are capable of suctioning liquids and even solid debris quickly which is vital for such applications. The same qualities that makes a vacuum truck effective at basic cleaning jobs has opened up another job duty – hydro excavation.

Basic Description

The vacuum truck is similar to a household vacuum in many aspects. It has a powerful air blower driven by an engine that pulls air through the system, creating a massive vacuum force. It has a large holding tank designed to withstand negative pressure and also serve as a holding compartment for any debris that is collected. There is a suction hose connected to the tank and the other end supported by a boom to easily maneuver the tip of the hose.

Unlike a household vacuum, a vacuum truck has a freshwater tank located beside the holding tank that is used primarily for cleaning. Both tanks are connected to a water pump to increase the force and pressure of the water coming from the nozzle, which is useful for removing stubborn debris. All these components are mounted on a truck chassis for mobility.


Hydro excavation is an entirely new form of excavation that originated in Canada. The cold weather that is inherent in Canada makes it difficult to dig into frozen soil using conventional means. A system of excavation was developed to be suitable for such extreme conditions using a vacuum truck.

Excavation done in this fashion requires two systems: the water jets and the vacuum function of the equipment. The water from the fresh water tanks is pumped to increase pressure and achieve a water stream powerful enough to break down soil. Once the soil is loosened, it is then suctioned by the vacuum unit. This action is repeated until the desired diameter and depth is achieved. The mixture of soil and water is then stored in the truck’s holding tank ready for disposal.


Although slower compared to conventional digging methods, hydro excavation has applications where it is favorable over more common approaches. For instance, it is ideal for excavating in areas where there is a greater risk of encountering gas lines, pipes, and sewers. Because the equipment only uses pressurized water to remove the soil, there is a lower risk of hitting and damaging an existing line at the job site.

It is also perfectly suited at digging holes for pole installations where a narrow opening is required. Another benefit of using a vacuum truck for excavation is that it leaves the surrounding soil intact and undisturbed, therefore it does not compromise the integrity and density of surrounding soil. Because the soil is removed instead of dug out, the normal mound of dirt does not have to be removed from the site of operation.

Hydro excavation is a relatively new way to use a vacuum truck that is quickly becoming an industry standard. It is a fast and safe alternative at critical excavation sites with existing underground structures that could be disturbed. For any vacuum truck company considering expanding into other areas, this is a great opportunity to find many new job possibilities!

Let Vacuum Truck Sales Find the Right Vacuum Truck For That Hydro Excavation Project!

If you’re looking for a vacuum truck to use for hydro excavation projects, call Vacuum Truck Sales at (305) 586-2838. These industry experts can find a great truck at a great price to suit that new job need!