There is no one-size-fits-all solution for every excavation job. Luckily, the utility excavation industry has a variety of options to choose from to get the job done right. Understanding ground conditions and job site requirements will help you select the right excavation method, spoil tank size, horsepower and trailer option. Whether you’re dealing with a surplus of mud and water or excavating around gas lines, the right vacuum excavator will help increase your productivity.

Water or air excavation

There are two types of soft digging techniques to choose from: hydro-excavation or air excavation. Hydro-excavation uses pressurized water to break up the soil before it’s vacuumed into the spoil tank. While hydro-excavation can be a fast and efficient method, the material vacuumed will be in a slurry state that needs to be hauled off and disposed. Air excavation can also be an effective solution for your job; it uses compressed air to loosen soil in a dry manner. One of the advantages of air excavation is the ability to backfill the hole once the excavation is complete using the dry dirt that was removed, eliminating the need to dump the spoils.

Large capacity

For large ongoing projects, you’ll need a versatile vacuum excavator with additional spoil tank and fresh water capacity. There are a variety of spoil tank sizes available, including 250 to 1,200 gallons (946.4 to 4,542.5 L) in the trailer market and 1,600 to 3,000 gallons (6,056.6 to 11,356.2 L) in the truck market.


Not all jobs are created equal. Smaller work sites simply demand less power and, therefore, less equipment and labor. Larger projects require heavy-duty equipment. For example, certain excavators feature extra horsepower in order to accommodate accessories like sewer jetters and hydraulic kits. There are also heavy-duty trailer options available for harder-to-reach job sites in uneven or tough terrain.


Hydraulic Boom

Gas-powered units

After you’ve successfully completed the project, it’s important to clean up the jobsite. If you don’t restore the site properly, it reflects poorly on your business, and can be dangerous if utility lines aren’t properly covered.

A gas-powered vacuum makes completing the job efficient. These vacuums are equipped to manage drilling fluids from horizontal directional drilling (HDD) jobs and are more affordable than alternative mud management solutions.

Your local Vermeer dealer can help you determine which vacuum excavator is right for your business.

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