Frequently Asked Questions

What are some other applications for vacuum excavation?

Besides utility potholing, vacuum excavation can be used for variety of other jobs. In cleaning applications, it can be used to empty areas such as valve boxes, catch basins and equipment vaults. In clearing applications, it can remove debris from areas such as rock saw trenches, basements and crawl spaces. And in mass excavations, vacuum excavating can also be used to excavate project elements such as trenches, caissons and foundations.

What works best to loosen soil – high pressure water or air?

In porous, hard or rocky soils, air is preferred for several reasons. When air is blown under pressure into the soil, it penetrates the soil and expands to explode the soil from below, rather than chipping the soil from above. Air promotes a faster dig than water because it creates dry spoils that can be used for backfill. This means there are no muddy spoils to be hauled away or additional outside backfill needed. Air is a gas and is more easily compressed than water making it the safer alternative on the job site.

Why would I choose Vacuum Excavation over digging a hole with a backhoe?

Vacuum excavation has three key advantages over a backhoe. It is faster, allowing us to do more work in less time with fewer people. It is safer, because digging with backhoes or even hand tools can damage buried utilities. Vacuum excavation potholes are also easier to patch, even if they are located under a street surface.

What is the territorial range that SSC works within?

We will work anywhere. We have done projects in Arizona, Texas, California and even the U.S. Virgin Islands.

What information does SSC require to provide a cost estimate?

We need specific information on the bore, such as diameter, type of product line, geotechnical report, access to the job site, length of bore and obstacle we are boring under.

Does SSC have the ability to “turn-key” a project?

Yes. We can dig our own pits, provide shore boxes and cranes (for shoring) in order to give the general contractor a product line where all he has to do is issue us a contract.

What types of product lines can you install?

After an auger bore, tunnel or pipe ram is completed, we can install product lines ranging from DIP, PVC, HDPE, RCP, PCP and VCP inside casing using skids, railings or spacers. With directional boring, we can pull back PVC, HDPE and steel casing.

How accurately can you install a product line?

With auger boring or tunneling, we can maintain +/-1% accuracy over the length of the bore. With directional boring, accuracy varies with soil conditions and the product line to be installed. In spite of difficult conditions, we can steer around obstacles and successfully reach a 6” wide trench 1000’ away.

Can you bore through solid rock?

Yes. We can bore through solid rock using directional boring, auger boring or hand tunneling. SSC can provide procedures to cope with any mix of soils.

How many conduits can you install at one time?

With directional boring, we have the ability to pull back multiple conduits at one time. The actual number we can pull back depends on the size of the conduit, soil conditions, utility conflicts and access. We have pulled back as many as (11) 3” PVC conduits using the directional bore. In auger boring, we can install as many conduits that will fit inside a steel casing.

I have several different utilities to install; can you install more than on conduit at a time?

Yes. With directional boring, we can pull back a variety of conduits ranging from 1 PVC conduit to and beyond 12 PVC conduits at one time. With auger boring or tunneling, we can install a steel sleeve then a variety of conduits or pipes into that casing.

What are the largest and smallest bores you can accomplish?

We can install pipes starting at 1/2” PVC or rigid conduit using directional boring and piercing tools under driveways, roadways and railroad tracks. On record, our largest pipe installed is a 120” (10’ diameter) steel casing under an intersection in south Phoenix. Whatever size or type of product line you need installed, we have the ability to accomplish your request

What is the longest bore you can perform?

We completed a 24” auger bore for 740’ in Southern California under a railroad-switching yard. In directional boring, we have the ability to bore 1,200’ to 1,500’ depending on the size of the product line to be pulled back.