Hydro excavation or vacuum excavation is a non-destructive digging method for getting excavation work done. Vacuum trucks make the excavation process simpler, faster and safer, compared to traditional methods. The highly pressurised water is shot through a nozzle and breaks apart soils, soft rocks and clay, turning them into slurry for the vacuum hose to suck up. Hydro excavation requires less equipment and work and is less destructive to anything that may be in the ground. Read through to find out what projects suit a vacuum excavation truck. 

Jobs vacuum excavators can do


Vacuum excavators are simple by design and easy to use, but this doesn’t mean they’re not versatile. There are many reasons why work sites would pick hydro, or vacuum excavation over traditional excavation. Some of the jobs they can do are listed here. 

Service locating

When any construction work that requires digging takes place, it’s essential to know what’s underground. Services and underground assets need to be located. 

Traditional radar locators are great at finding an approximation, but if there is a cable with no power, an empty drain or a sewage pipe, it’s going to be hard to locate. In this scenario, getting a traditional drill rig or excavator can be risky. Both in terms of the cost to replace a utility if it is accidentally broken, as well as the safety risk, presented. Physically locating the service is the safest option. Due to hydro excavators’ non-destructive digging capabilities, they can find the service without damaging it. 


A  great thing about vacuum excavation trucks is that they’re fast, easy to set up and clean. All that’s required is for the vac truck or trailer to be set up adjacent to the desired trench with its vacuum operators ready to start. Vacuum trucks make it fast and easy to trench a hole, all without causing a big mess. 

Debris and spillage removal

Construction jobs are inherently messy. Sometimes there are spills and breaks, such as water or mud slurry, and debris like rocks or glass. It’s important for workers to keep their sites as clean as possible, as it makes their work easier and safer. Vac trucks are great at clearing up material like this. The process is quick, easy and safe.


One of the easiest jobs for a hydro-vac truck is its potholing capability. If a project requires a pole or fence post to be installed, a vac truck can get the job done. It removes the need for a hand auger or drill rig to be set up, as both can be timely and cause a lot of mess. The high-pressure water is strong enough to break apart soil and be sucked up into the debris tank and taken away. 

Cleaning out drains

Drains and pipes are notorious for getting blocked up, especially if it has been raining a lot. The preferred method for cleaning out drainage systems is with a hydro excavation truck. All the debris and slurry will be stored in the tank and disposed of safely. 

Excavating without breaking services

Vacuum trucks are great for small-scale excavation projects or those with a lot of nearby services. Vacuum excavators require less set-up, are cleaner and cause less damage to the surrounding area than traditional excavation. The high pressurised water is used to break away the soil, clay and small rocks on an excavation site yet isn’t strong enough to break any services. 

VX70-1200 Vacuum Excavator Trucks

Jobs vacuum excavators can’t do


Like any tool, there are only so many things it can do. Whilst vacuum excavation trucks are useful, there are some jobs they aren’t suited to. 

Cleaning up hazardous waste

Typically a vacuum truck company won’t clean up any hazardous waste, such as oils, and chemicals. The reason is that these materials are strong and can potentially contaminate the tank of a vac truck. This will render the truck useless for any future jobs that don’t involve hazardous waste. 

Excavating through hard bedrock

Sometimes excavation sites will either have shallow bedrock or even large cement blocks. Because hydro vacuum excavation is non-destructive, the water pressure isn’t enough to break away hard materials. 

In saying that, traditional excavators usually can’t either, and will require other methods such as a jackhammer or diamond drill to get through the rock. If a jackhammer is used, vacuum pumps should be strong enough to remove the debris. 

Get your own vac truck


If you’re in need of a vacuum excavation truck or want to find out more, head on over to our product page or visit us in-store. We have a wide range of options available, from small service locating vac trailers perfect for finding those subsurface utilities, to large truck-mounted vacuum excavators. For more information call us at (08) 9479 4994 and our team of experts will point you in the right direction. 

Related posts
The Benefits of Using HDD in Pipeline Construction
The 5 Different Pipeline Installation Methods
Vermeer S925TX vs CTX100 | Which One Do I Need?
HDD vs Microtunneling | Pros and Cons of Each Method
Bandit vs Vermeer Chipper | Model 12XP vs BC1200XL
Ditch Witch vs Vermeer Mini Skid Steer | SK900 vs S925TX
How can equipment breakdown at a construction site be handled?
Track vs Wheel skid steer | Which one is right for your construction site?
How to sell your construction equipment | 6 useful tips
Choosing the right pile driver for your solar jobsite
6 best mini skid steer attachments that make you more productive
What are the benefits of switching to renewable energy in Australia?
How to start a composting business | 7 steps to succeed
Everything You Need To Know About Starting A Tree Plantation Business?
Trencher Vs Excavator : Which One Do You Need ?
6 Ways To Reduce Construction Costs In 2023
Renting Vs Buying Construction Equipment | Which One Is Best For You?
Mining Equipment Maintenance Strategy | A Step-By-Step Guide
Vacuum Truck Capacity | Which One Is Best For You?
What Can You Put In A Wood Chipper ?
Trommel Vs Vibrating Screen | Which One Do You Need?
Tree Removal Equipment You Must Have | Vermeer WA NT
A Guide to Mini Skid Steer Maintenance
How Deep can a Stump Grinder Go?
Excavation Methods: Vacuum vs Traditional Excavation
2022 Top 10 must-have types of Mining Machines
Questions to ask your Renewable Energy Equipment Supplier
5 Advantages of using a Solar Pile Driver
Delivering the First Vermeer D130S Horizontal Directional Drill in Australia
Introducing the Vermeer CTX50 mini skid steer | Compact and nimble
Horizontal Drilling Maintenance Tips Ahead of Winter Time
Quiet, Compact, and Powerful: the D23x30S3 from Vermeer WA & NT is here
What are the Different Types of Renewable Energy?
Supporting Clean & Renewable Energy: Why is Renewable Energy Important?
Your Renewable Energy Equipment & Sustainable Machinery Supplier
Vacuum Excavator: A Vital Tool for Horizontal Drilling Projects
New HDD Release
Horizontal Directional Drilling for Water & Sewer
Commercial Landscaping Tools & Equipment
Vacuum Excavation Equipment For Sale
Ultimate Guide To Stump Grinding Options
Application of Vacuum Excavators
Ultimate Guide To Wood Chipper Options
Vermeer’s Game Changer To Drilling
How to improve productivity on a construction site | Use a vacuum excavator
The Horizontal Directional Drilling Process Explained
How Vacuum Excavation Can Help The Arboriculture Industry
Vermeer WA & NT Wood Chippers Safety Features
Vermeer VX30-250 Vacuum Excavator – DIG SMARTER, SAFER AND MORE ACCURATE.