Hydro Excavation 101: Everything You Need to Know

Wednesday, January 25th, 2023
Hydro Excavation truck

Hydro excavation is a procedure that uses high-pressure water instead of mechanical tools to excavate and remove soil quickly. This turns the soil into a muddy slurry that experts use an industrial-strength vacuum to remove. It is an extremely useful procedure to create precise trenches for landscaping and installation purposes.

How Does Hydro Excavation Work?

Hydro excavation has two major steps. First, landscapers will blast soil with a highly pressurized jet of water to break through the top layer. The pressurized water carves a trench in the solid earth and mixes with the soil, creating a thick, muddy slurry. Next, they will suck the slurry into a debris tank with a high-power vacuum, exposing fixtures underneath the soil line.

After finishing the job, the technicians will release the slurry into the trench, where it can harden and fill the hole. With the right equipment, experts can dig up to five feet in the soil in just 30 minutes. 

Common uses include:

  • Debris removal
  • Sign installation
  • Light pole installation
  • Potholing
  • Sewer inspections
  • Daylighting excavation (e.g., exposing utilities)

Why Use Hydro Excavation

Hydro excavation carries several benefits over traditional mechanical methods.

Less Risk

Hydro excavation uses water to cut through the soil without causing damage to underground infrastructure, such as drain lines or electrical cables. The pressurized water softens the soil so it can be removed by vacuuming instead of sharp metal claws and mechanical equipment. This process also poses less risk of injury to workers. 


Modern equipment can create incredibly sharp and powerful jet streams, allowing precise excavation, even with harder soil. Handheld pressure wands allow technicians to cut around corners and tight quarters. There is also no need to place large equipment like backhoes or dump trucks. 


Since it requires less equipment and setup, experts can complete hydro excavation projects faster and more efficiently than with traditional equipment. This process also reduces the time to replace the soil since the vacuumed slurry is returned to the excavation hole. The lower equipment requirement also means a smaller crew can finish the job, lowering overall costs. 

Year Round Use

Hydro excavation creates pressurized jets of warm water that can cut through hard and frozen soil. This process is particularly useful in northern areas where cold temperatures make traditional groundwork difficult. It can be done in both hot and cold months.

Hydro Excavation Services in Amarillo 

Do you need hydro excavation services at your business? Call Allen’s Mechanical Tri-State today! As one of the area’s largest HVAC, electrical, and plumbing providers, we hold ourselves to an unparalleled standard of quality and professionalism. Let us help you with your next project! Send us a message online or give us a call at (806) 376-8345 to schedule an appointment!