Posted on 5 February 2019

What is non-destructive digging?

Vac-U-Digga’s Non-destructive Digging Solutions

Vac-U-Digga's Non-destructive Digging Solutions

You’ve most likely seen excavation work occur or perhaps even organised this, but do you know the difference between each method and terminology used?

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Excavation refers to the practice of digging a hole or trench, typically in a construction environment. The practice is one of the fundamental activities seen on construction and building sites across the world. Excavation can be conducted by a variety of methods, where traditional excavation plant and hand-held tools are used to excavate sites or dig down. A popular modern method of excavation is non-destructive digging, which significantly mitigates service strike risk. But what exactly is non-destructive digging?

What is non-destructive digging?

Non-destructive digging (NDD) refers to a range of excavation methods that implore the use of pressurised air or water to break apart soil and dig down to a utility without the risk of striking or damaging the utility, with the added use of a vacuum suction to collect and store excavated material for disposal or reuse.


The term is generally used in reference to excavation using water or air excavation, and vacuum. Non-destructive digging is widely accepted as the safest way to dig, as modern vacuum excavation equipment is a relatively fast, effective and affordable excavation alternative where importantly significantly mitigates the risk of dame to subsurfac utilities and infrastructure. 

Who uses non-destructive digging?

Non-destructive digging, in combination with utility locating services are used across the world to efficiently dig down and expose utilities and pipes with a reduced risk of damage compared to traditional excavation methods. Non-destructive digging methods involves a vacuum truck, sucker truck, vactor truck, jet vac truck, or hydrovac truck, which is fitted with a vacuum tank and depending on the truck type, fitted with jetting systems.


Over the years, we havve been contracted by councils, mining companies, Government transport agencies, telecommunication companies, and others to undertake extensive non-destructive digging work in an effort to identify, expose and help repair damaged subsurface utilities (e.g. electricity, gas, communications, and water), to get public services like water supply, gas and internet back online after an earthquake or storm.

Vacuum Excavation

What is vacuum excavation?

Vacuum excavation typically refers to hydro excavation (using water and vacuum). While vac trucks are used in vacuum excavation they are also be used in waste management to collect sewage and other waste to be transported and processed off-site. As such, vacuum excavation generally refers to excavation activities that use a vacuum suction mechanism (the core feature of a vacuum excavation truck) to suck up and collect excavated material, where pressurised water to break apart the soil that the vacuum then collects.

If you’re are interested in booking, getting a quote, or finding out more information about our unique non-destructive digging, vacuum excavation, soil transfer, hydro excavation or waste management services give us a call on 0508 822834 for a chat with one of our professionals.

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

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