Current Location: VIC

Hydro Vacuum Excavation Melbourne

We offer non-destructive digging with hydro vacuum excavation in Melbourne and wider Victoria.

As an industry leader in hydro excavations, cable locations and all underground service locating, the demand for our services have seen us expand into Melbourne and the wider Victorian market place.

With today’s stringent safety procedures, rules and regulations our vacuum excavations are a fool-proof way of getting the job done quickly, efficiently and without damage to any underground services.

Provac will ensure that you won’t damage or destroy any underground services whilst digging.

What is hydro vacuum excavation Melbourne?

Vacuum excavations, also known as hydro excavations, is a form of non-destructive digging (NDD). This type of excavation is fast becoming the most popular method of excavation, when carrying out work in the vicinity of any underground assets.

Vacuum excavation uses keyhole technology to identify underground services and minimises the risk of damage to even the thinnest underground cables. The process starts with high-pressure water being applied to the soil to break it down.

The soil is then excavated via a vacuum hose and is collected in our vacuum tank, eliminating any need for further clean ups, keeping the site both tidy and safe. Hydro excavation work using a vacuum excavation truck has proved to cause the least amount of inconvenience to the public, and greatly reduces the risk of any inconveniences.

Why do I need a vacuum excavation company like Provac?

Utility damage was quite common in the past and the inconvenience caused to both the asset owners and your company can be costly.

Not only do you need to consider your liability, you also need to consider the down-time needed for the repairs to be undertaken, both can end up blowing out your project budget.

What are the benefits of hydro vacuum excavations?

The benefits of vacuum excavation services are ten-fold. Not leaving yourself vulnerable to potential issues due to so many underground assets beneath the surface in Melbourne and greater Victoria during your construction project is worth the peace of mind alone.

Here are some of the many benefits of using vacuum excavation:

  • First and foremost, safety. The chance of personal injury or death by hitting electrical cables or gas mains is significantly reduced.
  • Damage prevention is a big factor to consider. The financial implications of hitting and damaging underground assets can be enormous, and not to mention how it can tarnish your reputation for those people that rely on those services.
  • When the area is highly congested, vacuum excavation limits the area needed and affected by the work, causing minimal disruption.

For the best non-destructive digging in Melbourne, call Provac

Hydro excavation is an NDD service of excavation that is fast, effective and causes minimal mess and inconvenience. At Provac, we provide this service alongside our wide variety of utility locating and ground penetrating radar services. 

If you require specialist services throughout Melbourne and Victoria wide, or wish to hire one of our vac trucks in Melbourne, call us today on 1300 734 772 or fill out our contact form.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How does a Vac Truck work?

Hydro Vacuum Excavation uses pressurised water to break up the earth’s surface and soil which is then removed through a vacuum system and deposited into a debris holding tank to be disposed of at the end of the job.

What size Vac Trucks do you have?

At Provac Australia we have a selection of Vac truck sizes ranging from as little as 1000L trailer mounted units to as big as 12,000L truck mounted units. Our most commonly used truck size ranges between 5,000L – 8,000L units.

Will my job require non destructive digging with a Vac truck?

Digging safely with a vac truck is highly recommended when underground services are present within a job site dig area. It is your duty of care and responsibility to follow the appropriate steps of action to identify that there may or may not be underground services within your dig area.

How long does it take to dig with a vac truck?

Depending on the scopes of the job it can sometimes be quicker, easier and safer to use a Vac truck to excavate. The type of ground can also affect the time it takes to dig with a Vac truck. For example it can be much quicker to dig in and trough sand as opposed to digging in and through a rocky subsurface.

How long is the vac truck hose and gerni wand?

Our Vac trucks are all equipped with suction hose and gerni wand extensions. All of our trucks carry a minimum of 20m of extension hose but can carry up towards 60m of extension hose on board. Our gerni wands can be adjusted from 1.5m in length up to 3.0m in length.

How deep can you dig with a Vac truck?

Depending on the type of ground that you are digging in, A vac truck can typically dig up to 3.5m deep. On some projects our Vac trucks are used to dig in holes that have been mechanically excavated and properly shored and benched for our operators safety.

Can you dig a service trench to install new underground services?

Yes. Our services are often called upon by Electricians and Plumbers who are wishing to install new pipes and cables. We have dug trenches for some of our electrical clients that have been 1m deep and up to 80-100m long.

Can you dig footings/post holes for fences and platforms?

Yes. We are often called upon by fencing and signage contractors to dig the footings for new fences and signs that need to be erected around other underground services.

Do you have a vac truck small enough to access tight areas such as; gardens and private properties?

Yes. We have a top of the range Vermeer Trailer Mounted Unit with a 2000L holding capacity. This trailer unit is towed by a 4wd and is used to access properties and all your hard to reach places where a regular Vac truck would not be able to get to.

Can you suck away sewer waste?

We deal with sewer waste on a case by case basis only. We can work safely around damaged sewer infrastructure but we do not suck sewer slurry away from holding tanks and portable toilets.

What are the benefits of vacuum excavation?

Vacuum excavation is a faster, safer, and more precise excavation method than traditional methods. It reduces disruption, is environmentally friendly, and minimises the risk of damage to underground infrastructure.

What are the three main types of excavation?

Excavation techniques can be categorised based on their intended purpose, such as foundation, slope, or underground opening excavation. In a broader context, there are three main types of excavation methods: digging, ripping, and blasting.

What is the most efficient excavation?

Hydro excavation is considered the most efficient type of vacuum excavation due to its speed. It can remove soil from sites faster than traditional excavation and air excavation methods, which reduces the need for additional equipment and labour, and allows contractors to excavate effectively.

What are the hazards when digging?

There are several hazards that can arise when digging, including:

Utility strikes: Digging can damage underground utilities such as gas, water, electrical, or telecommunication lines, leading to service disruptions, injuries, or even fatalities.

Cave-ins or collapses: Trenches or excavations that are not properly supported or sloped can collapse, potentially burying workers or equipment and causing serious injury or death.

Falling objects: Materials or equipment that are not properly secured can fall into the excavation, posing a hazard to workers below.

Contact with hazardous materials: Excavation work may uncover hazardous materials such as asbestos, lead, or contaminated soil, which can pose a health risk to workers and the environment.

Equipment accidents: Heavy machinery used in digging, such as backhoes or excavators, can malfunction, tip over, or collide with other equipment, causing injury or damage.

Weather conditions: Extreme weather conditions such as heavy rain, snow, or strong winds can create hazards such as flooding, soil erosion, or falling objects.

It is essential to assess potential hazards before starting any digging project and take appropriate measures to mitigate these risks. This includes conducting site surveys to locate buried utilities, ensuring proper excavation support and sloping, wearing appropriate personal protective equipment, and implementing proper safety protocols and procedures.

What are some of the hazards in underground construction?

Hazards in underground construction include confined spaces, excavation risks, electrical hazards, hazardous materials, noise and vibration, and traffic hazards. To mitigate these risks, workers should be properly trained and equipped with personal protective equipment, whilst employers should implement safety protocols and conduct regular inspections.

What is the process of hydrovac excavation?

Hydrovac excavation, also known as hydro excavation, typically involves the following steps:

Site preparation: The area to be excavated is marked and prepared for the hydrovac truck to access.

Water injection: Pressurised water is injected into the ground using a handheld wand or nozzle. The water breaks up the soil and creates a slurry.

Vacuum extraction: A powerful vacuum system on the hydrovac truck is used to extract the slurry from the excavation site and put it into a holding tank on the truck.

Material disposal: Once the excavation is complete, the slurry can be disposed of in an appropriate manner, such as at a disposal site or in a designated location.

Hydrovac excavation is considered a non-destructive method because it uses pressurised water to break up soil and debris, which is then removed by a vacuum system. The process is designed to be precise and to minimise damage to buried utilities or other sensitive infrastructure. The operator can control the water pressure and excavation depth, allowing for accurate excavation. The use of hydrovac excavation can help reduce project time, improve safety on job sites, and minimise the risk of damage to underground utilities.


What is the difference between a VAC truck and an excavator?

A VAC truck (also known as a vacuum truck or suction excavator) and an excavator are both heavy-duty machines used in construction and excavation projects, but they serve different purposes.

A VAC truck is a specialised truck with a large tank and powerful vacuum pump that can remove large quantities of materials such as dirt, sand, gravel, and liquids through a hose system. These machines are commonly used for non-destructive excavation, where sensitive underground utilities and pipes need to be located and exposed without damaging them. VAC trucks are also used for cleaning out catch basins, sewers, and other areas where debris has accumulated.

On the other hand, an excavator is a heavy construction machine with a large bucket on the end of a hydraulic arm. It is primarily used for digging and moving large amounts of dirt, rock, and debris from one location to another. Excavators are versatile machines and can be used for a wide variety of tasks, including digging trenches, building foundations, and demolishing structures.

In summary, while both machines are used for excavation, a VAC truck is primarily used for non-destructive excavation and cleaning, while an excavator is used for heavy-duty digging and moving of materials.

What are the methods of vacuum excavation?

The two main methods of vacuum excavation are air vacuum excavation, which uses compressed air, and hydro vacuum excavation, which uses pressurised water. Both methods are non-destructive and are used to minimise damage to underground utilities and structures.

Is a hydrovac considered a destructive excavation technique?

Hydrovac (short for hydro excavation) is generally not considered a destructive excavation technique. In fact, it is considered a non-destructive method because it uses pressurised water to break up soil and debris, which is then removed by a vacuum system. This method is designed to minimise the risk of damage to underground utilities and structures, which can occur with more traditional excavation methods like digging with shovels or backhoes. Hydrovac is a safer and more precise excavation technique and is widely used in the construction and utility industries.

What are some facts about Hydrovac?

Hydrovac is a non-destructive excavation method that uses high-pressure water and a vacuum system. It is safer, more precise, and environmentally friendly compared to traditional excavation methods. It is commonly used in construction, oil and gas industries, and utility installations. Hydrovac allows for faster and more efficient excavation while minimising the risk of damaging underground utilities.

Why is Vacuum Excavation the preferred method of excavation in Australia?

Vacuum excavation is the preferred method of excavation in Australia due to its safety, efficiency, environmental friendliness, compliance with regulations, and ability to protect the extensive underground utility networks in the country. It offers precise digging, minimises the risk of utility damage, and accelerates project timelines.

How accurate is HVE for utility locating?

Hydro Vacuum Excavation (HVE) can be highly accurate for utility locating when executed by trained operators using specialised equipment. Its non-destructive approach, precise control of water pressure and vacuum force, and ability to provide visual verification contribute to accurate utility exposure. HVE is particularly valuable for trenchless projects and urban areas with congested underground infrastructure. However, accuracy is influenced by factors such as site conditions, operator skill, and the quality of equipment, emphasising the importance of thorough planning and skilled execution for achieving precise utility locating results.

Is there any risk of damage to utilities?

While Hydro Vacuum Excavation (HVE) is considered a safer method for exposing utilities compared to traditional excavation, there is still a potential risk of utility damage if not executed correctly. Operator skill, accurate utility information, high-quality equipment, and site conditions all influence the level of risk. Proper training ensures operators control water pressure and vacuum force to avoid utility contact, and visual verification helps prevent accidental damage. Accurate utility marking and mapping, along with ongoing supervision and communication, are essential for minimising the risk of utility damage during HVE operations.

What are the potential challenges and limitations of HVE?

Hydro Vacuum Excavation (HVE) presents several challenges and limitations that should be considered during project planning. These include potential difficulties in rocky or frozen soil conditions, water source availability and management of excavated soil slurry, depth limitations, accuracy for delicate objects, utility mapping accuracy, cost considerations, operational time, weather dependency, limitations in tight spaces, operator training, environmental concerns, site access, noise and disruption, and compliance with licensing and regulations. Evaluating these factors within the context of the project is essential for maximising the benefits of HVE while effectively addressing its limitations.

Victoria Division

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