Posted on 24 January 2019

What is Air Excavation? 

Air Excavation Vs Hydro Excavation

Vac Excavation

Vac-U-Digga Excavation 

Vacuum excavation refers to a form of non-destructive digging that is popular for unearthing utility lines, pipes and cables safely and efficiently. Split into two categories, air excavation and hydro excavation are routinely used by both small and large companies in New Zealand.

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What is air excavation?

Air excavation is anon-destructive digging process that uses specialised air evacuation equipment to shoot pressurised air into the soil in order to break up the soil around buried utility lines. A dry vac truck then sucks the dirt and debris out of the immediate site and funnels it into a holding tank until you're ready to either put it back or reuse it.


Dry vacuum excavation is considered to be a safer method to dig around utility lines because you don't use heavy machinery,and there are fewer chances of damaging or cutting through the utility lines with air evacuation equipment.         


Additionally, dry vacuum excavation is precise. You can potentially get right up alongside and over the utility lines without damaging them. It also reduces the risks of cave-ins when you're performing trenching projects in Auckland or Christchurch. Air evacuation works to keep your staff safer throughout the project's duration, and it helps to cut your operating costs because you don't need as many people to run the dry vac truck or air evacuation equipment.

vacuum excavation process

The difference between air excavation and hydro excavation in Wellington

While air evacuation and hydro evacuation are both forms of non-destructive digging that are excellent for working around utility lines, they differ in the process.


Air Evacuation- Dry vacuum excavation uses a dry vac truck and compressed air to break up the soil in your worksite. Once the soil gets broken up, a vacuum sucks it up into a holding truck. It is slightly slower than hydro excavation, but you can use the materials or debris right away to fill in the hole as you go along.

Hydro Excavation- Hydro excavation uses a vac truck and pressurised water to break up the soil around utility lines. When it breaks up the soil, a sucker truck sucks the debris through a hose andthe slurry goes into a holding tank. This slurry is usually taken away to berecycled or taken to a disposal centre, and you can't use it to refill the holewhen you finish your project in Christchurch or Auckland.

Why use air evacuation in New Zealand? 

Air evacuation is gaining popularity throughout Wellington and New Zealand for a variety of reasons with both large and small civil works, construction and mining companies. 


These reasons include: 

Cost-Effective - Dry vac evacuation is very cost-effective when you compare it to traditional digging. It requires less manpower to run, it's faster than traditional digging and there is a decreased risk for damage to utility lines and cables.

Precision - Air evacuation allows forminute precision when you dig. You'll be able to break up areas right over andright next to utility lines without worrying about damaging them. Additionally,it sucks the debris away from the work site to give you more room to work.

Saves Time - Both air and hydro evacuation practices are faster and more efficient than traditional digging measures. This can help to keep your project in Wellington or Christchurch on time. 


If you need air evacuation services or airevacuation equipment, contact us. Our friendly and professional staff are readyand willing to tailor a package to suit your budget and needs. 

Contact Vac-U-Digga NZ today to arrange a personalised obligation-free quote.

Vac-U-Digga NZ is proud to be part of the Christchurch Rebuild Program and to be engaged on the delivery of the high-speed Ultra Fast Broadband and other major projects across New Zealand.

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