Dig safer

Vacuum excavation decreases operational risk due to its nondestructive nature and is safer than traditional excavation methods. Black Hydrovac is your go-to resource for your vacuum excavation needs in Northern Virginia. We offer air and hydro excavation, daylighting, potholing, debris removal, trenching and storm water management services. We can help you dig safer.

Vacuum excavation

Vacuum excavation is an excavation method using high pressure air and/or water to break up dirt and a vacuum to remove the soil. This nondestructive method of excavation is cleaner and faster than traditional excavation. Vacuum excavation is also safer than traditional excavation, both for anything existing underground and for the hydrovac operators. This precise method of excavation also has minimal environmental impact.

Hydro excavation and air excavation are two types of vacuum excavation.


Daylighting for utility location is the most common use of vacuum excavation; potholes are used to verify the depth and location of existing underground utilities. Utilizing daylighting to locate utilities reduces the risk of utility damage caused by striking an underground utility while digging. Dirt that is displaced during daylighting can be used as backfill or removed. Either type of vacuum excavation (hydro or air) can be used for daylighting.


Potholing using vacuum excavation is a destructive method of digging holes for many purposes. There is minimal amount of disturbance to the environment and very low risk of damaging existing structures in the ground. Either type of vacuum excavation (hydro or air) can be used for potholing. Potholing reduces the risk of utility damage caused by striking an underground utility while digging. Displaced dirt can be used as backfill or removed, depending on which type of vacuum excavation is utilized.

Potholing can be utilized for:

  • Utility location / daylighting

  • Utility pole installation

  • Fence post installation

  • Pole holes

  • Piling holes

Debris removal

Debris removal is safer and more efficient with our powerful vacuum trucks, and can be accomplished by utilizing either type of vacuum excavation (hydro or air). Vacuum excavation offers a cleaner and faster way to remove debris over the traditional methods utilizing a shovel and manual labor.

Slot trenching

Vacuum excavation allows operators to cut very precise slot trenches that are narrow and deep, up to two feet wide. This method of trenching offers minimal disruption to the surrounding environment, allows for work in tighter spaces, and reduces backfilling issues. Trenching with vacuum excavation (either hydro or air) is the safer method when other utility lines are in the surrounding area and is safer for operators. With air excavation, backfill is immediately available.

Slot trenching can be utilized for:

  • Underground utility line installation and/or repair

  • Smaller pipe installation

  • Work around existing utilities

Storm water management

Storm sewers and pipes often get filled with sediment and need to be cleared out. Jetting is a process that utilizes a pressurized water hose with a jetting nozzle to push high-pressure water through the pipe and loosen and displace sediment.

Jetting and vacuum excavation can be utilized individually or simultaneously for managing storm water needs within:

  • Storm drains

  • Catch basins

  • Culverts