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GEO-GUARD Vacuum Excavation

What is GEO-GUARD Vacuum Excavation?

The precise location of underground utilities, underground storage tanks or other sensitive objects can be greatly enhanced by the visual inspection and verification. Some terminology refers to this practice as “Day Lighting”, “Soft Digging” and/or Subsurface Utility Engineering (S.U.E.).

“We needed to perform test borings in an area inundated with utilities, knowing even the best mark out equipment has a margin of error, so we chose GEO-GUARD to clear a path utilizing there soft digging equipment.”

Most times these objects need to be verified or exposed by using shovels, picks or even backhoes. No matter how skilled the technician or operator, these devices can scar, puncture or even worse, rip up the objects that are meant to only be exposed for examination. The use of pre-excavation has been helpful to clear the path for drilling companies. In the past, areas have been soft dug and backfilled with sand to eliminate risk of unmarked utilities from being damaged.

“Only GEO-GUARD is able to expose both ends of the tank so true soil samples can be taken around and under the tank. With the ends exposed, we were able to perform extremely accurate corrosion testing on the tank as well as testing, sampling and mapping.”

To avoid these mishaps, GEO-GUARD utilizes vacuum excavation in order to expose subsurface utilities and objects. Only a small surface opening is needed, typically from 5-12 inches in diameter and by the use of air jets and a powerful vacuum, a hole can be expanded to any depth. The jets penetrate, expand, and break up the soils in a precise, non-disruptive spatial location. All the spoils are put into holding tanks or containers for disposal or backfilling.

“With a foundation sinking and the as built plans not accurate at an upscale town house development, we needed GEO-GUARD to expose the footings so our geo-technical team could do an accurate sub-surface investigation. The work was performed around pedestrian traffic and delicate landscaping. When we left, no one new we were there, it’s like arthroscopy surgery.”

Application for GEO-GUARD Vacuum Excavation

  • The safe excavation of utility poles, signs, traffic signals, fencing, deck piers, etc. even around critical utilities or tight access locations.
  • The cleanup and removal of soil, sand gravel or any other items in casings, manholes, rooftop stone and ballasts, cave-ins of soil around rebar and forms.
  • The safe excavation including trenching and slot trenching.
  • Horizontal excavation, underpinning or undermining of structures and foundations.
  • Tank inspections and testing including soil sampling, corrosion testing and the installation of cathodic protection.
  • Precise excavation around footings, foundations and piers for investigation and verification.

 

Notes

The average excavation, 10” in diameter and 5’ in depth takes approximately 45 minutes, not including set up. Soil type, debris, cobbles, and other unknowns ultimately dictate exact time of excavation.

All crews come equipped with a jackhammer to break and uncover asphalt and concrete (repairs quoted separately).

Based on the verbal scope of work we estimate the following.

GEO-GUARD Vacuum Excavation

We utilize a revolutionary technology called Air/Vacuum to locate and expose subsurface objects. Air and Vacuum technology is employed to quickly and efficiently move soil from test hole to holding tank or disposal vehicle (see below).

Location & Surface Opening
Utilities and or tank ends are designated and marked using highly specialized electromagnetic and radio frequency instruments. Then, a 12” square opening is made just above the utility area.

Exposing (day lighting)
The buried utility is uncovered via air vacuum high pressure “Airlance” or “super sonic air shovel” which loosens the soil around the utility – without damaging buried facilities.

Soil Extraction (Air/Vacuum)
A powerful air/vacuum pulls the soil out of the exposed area and deposits the material in a large mobile tank or temporary drum.

Depth Measurement & Mapping
With the utilities exposed, depth can be verified, and mapping/surveying or adjacent excavation of drilling activities can be accurately performed. In cases of tanks, the tanks can be exposed for accurate tank testing.

Result
Utilizing Air/Vacuum technology, the entire process takes approximately 45 minutes per hole, is completely safe, and environmentally compliant. The only evidence of GEO-GUARD presence is a 144 square inch (or as in this case, round) patch.