photo 2 webAs anyone who’s performed vacuum excavation knows, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for every job. Each excavation project is different and may require equipment with different spoil tanks and horsepower, as well as a towing vehicle or flatbed truck to meet your particular needs. Whether you’re dealing with a surplus of mud and water, or excavating around gas lines, the right vacuum excavator can increase your productivity and reduce downtime.

Luckily, the utility excavation industry has a variety of options from which to choose for your next job. Obviously, you first need to know the soil conditions and requirements of the project. However, once those are mapped out, you can then determine which of these following methods will work best for you.

(While some of these may be available exclusively through McLaughlin, our purpose is to give you a wide range of options, no matter who supports them).

Water or air excavation

There are two types of soft digging techniques to choose from: hydro-excavation or air excavation. Hydro-excavation using highly pressurized water to break up the soil before being vacuumed into the spoil tank. While hydro-excavation can be a fast and efficient method, the material vacuumed will be in a slurry state which will need to be hauled off and disposed of. Air excavation can 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 back fill the hole once the excavation is complete using the dry dirt that was removed.

Large Capacity

For large, long-lasting digs, you’ll not only need versatility, but extra capacity as well. From bigger spoil tanks to increased fresh water options, you can find the additional power and storage you need if you do a little digging (pun intended). Some machines are built to allow large-volume potholing so that you don’t have to break up the job as much. Meanwhile, large spoil tanks and hundreds of gallons of fresh water will give you an edge that smaller excavators just can’t provide


Not all jobs are created equal. Smaller work sites simply demand less power, and therefore less equipment and labor. However, for large jobs, you can’t succeed without heavy-duty equipment. If you find that you’re facing an intensive work site, make sure you consider a diversity of options for excavation. For example, certain excavators feature extra horsepower in order to accommodate accessories such as sewer jetters and hydraulic kits. There are also heavy duty trailer options available that can help with right-of-way projects by making it easier for a contractor to take the excavator across uneven or tough terrain.

Gas Powered Units

While a successful excavation is top priority, performing a sufficient clean up afterwards is almost as important. If you don’t restore the site properly, it will reflect poorly on your business and can even be dangerous if utility lines aren’t properly dealt with.

A gas-powered vacuum can make completing a job easy. Rather than their more expensive alternatives, these vacuums are ideal for jobs where you are managing drill fluids from Horizontal Directional Drilling (or HDD). Gas powered vacs are well equipped and economical solutions for drill mud management.

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