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In a variety of construction and utility applications, hydrovac trucks have become increasingly deployed by crews to carry out excavation work in a safer, more precise and more efficient way.
Hydro excavation is often the preferred method over more cumbersome traditional approaches, particularly as the technology continues to evolve. In addition to large, production-style trucks, the market now offers smaller versions that are ideal for a number of specific work conditions.
In this article, we’re explaining why, when and how Merut leverages a smaller hydrovac truck to safely and effectively carry out excavation work at construction and utility sites.
Understanding the Why
For any company aiming to provide hydrovac services at an elevated standard of quality and safety, it’s essential to maintain a fleet of trucks that meet various excavation needs and highlight the importance of doing each job both well and safely. Every truck should be engineered to be safe, productive and durable, enabling the crew to manage hydrovac tasks with a high level of performance and a low level of risk.
Merut ultimately made the decision to invest in a smaller hydrovac truck because we have identified increasing opportunities to utilize hydro excavation in areas that are congested, limited in space and access, or challenged by overhead hazards and obstructions. Whether it’s a high-traffic area, confined space in between buildings or structures, or a site where overhead electrical wires are present, being equipped with a smaller truck makes the effort safer and the area easier to maneuver.
Essentially, a smaller hydrovac truck is an excellent complement to a fleet of larger vehicles, as it enables access where more considerably sized trucks might have difficulty negotiating the space.
Identifying the When
Not every excavation project at a construction or utility work site is best served by a smaller hydrovac truck, but there are some very specific applications for which this size is ideal. While larger trucks are more conducive to jobs involving long trenches or bulk excavation, smaller trucks are often utilized for projects that require utility daylighting.
Daylighting is a process of exposing underground utilities without the risk of causing damage to them. The technique garners visual confirmation of subsurface lines, providing insight into their location, length and depth so workers can safely excavate around them. It involves digging a series of very small test holes, usually measuring 6 to 12 inches deep, and often leverages hydro excavation to obtain the necessary verification of underground objects all along the project’s bore path. A pressurized water stream can cut precisely and efficiently through the soil, allowing for minimal material removal and safeguarding workers from dangerous risks like strikes on natural gas lines.
In addition to specific daylighting efforts, Merut engages a smaller hydrovac truck when managing projects located in a city or busy residential area, where there’s not typically a big, open space in which the crew can operate. It’s also the chosen option for excavation sites that are limited by overhead obstructions like high-voltage lines, which present a major safety hazard for the team. A smaller truck helps mitigate that risk and supports greater maneuverability.
Explaining the How
How Merut leverages the advantages of smaller hydrovac trucks is straightforward: top-quality equipment and a first-rate crew. Both of these are instrumental to deploying the right-sized truck to perform each job safely and effectively.
So, let’s start with the equipment. The hydrovac truck market comprises a variety of truck models, each one featuring different specifications—from overall size to air and water pressure, suction and capacity. To meet the growing need for a smaller vehicle, Merut acquired a Rival T7 Hydrovac, which comprises the following features:
- Size of just over 30 feet in length and 11 feet at its highest point, giving it excellent maneuverability
- Extreme ease of operation with a single PTO switch that engages all back-end functions
- Wireless remote system to run the remainder of the unit
- Ability to offload via a hoist and full opening back door, or by pressuring up the tank and allowing the spoils to leave via one of two rear valves that can be directed to a tank or other vehicle
- Addition of several safety features, including a grounding stud, ESD shutdown, retractable railing and D Rings atop the unit, as well as alarms to ensure the boom is in the proper position prior to travel
- A tandem axle chassis with ability to scale properly full of debris in most soil densities
- Vanair Package for Air Excavating and Air Tooling
Then there’s that second part of the “how” equation: the crew. A truly knowledgeable and experienced hydrovac team is one that exceeds the capabilities of the trucks employed to perform the work. They are committed to the health and safety of each and every worker. They are skilled and highly trained on equipment, policies and best practices. They work hard to make the team a highly adept work crew, and they understand the individual efforts required to ensure safety and success.
Merut takes this responsibility seriously, understanding the fundamental importance of taking a safety-first approach to every job and sticking to the processes and standards set in place to protect the team, the client and anyone else in harm’s way. Because working in areas with live utilities is so dangerous, the team has a “work hard, safety hard” mentality and process. From conducting thorough equipment inspections and ongoing monitoring of worker safety and performance, to proactive project planning and preparation, proper use of protective gear and equipment, and more, the highly knowledgeable and experienced team at Merut places safety above all else, regardless of truck size or the specifics of the job at hand.
Utility companies and site contractors that perform utility installation should always keep these critical safety and performance factors in mind when contracting the services of a hydrovac truck operator.
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