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, geo-technical report, access to the job site, length of bore, and obstacle we are boring under.

For vacuum excavation projects, we will require the location of where the work is taking place, information on known utilities in the area, traffic control and surface restoration requirements. 

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. 

How accurately can you install a product line?

With auger boring or tunneling, we can maintain +/-1% accuracy over the length of the bore. 

Can you bore through solid rock?

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

How many conduits can you install at one time?

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 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 casing as small as 12″ in diameter to carry small utilities. 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 and can advise you on what size is appropriate depending on utility size, type, and product specifications.

What is the longest bore you can perform?

We completed a 42” auger bore for 740’ in Southern Arizona under a I-19 link to Green Valley. 

What is Intelligent Tunnel Design?

We provide the expertise needed to intelligently design tunnels by successfully implementing a three step process involving the planning, design, and construction of a project. We focus on providing the project owner with everything needed to obtain satisfactory, long-term utilization of the finished facility.