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What is Daylighting Excavation?

While traditional methods of excavation certainly do the trick, crews are now turning to daylighting as their preferred method of excavation.

What is Daylighting?

In the past, utility lines and pipes were exposed by hand digging, which is a painstakingly slow process and places the worker in danger if he should inadvertently hit a power line with his shovel. Often a backhoe was used, but the backhoe method is clumsy and can damage lines and wires. Daylighting, or potholing, is a process in which underground pipes are exposed to daylight using a hydrovac, or hydro excavation truck.

Hydro excavators use a combination of pressure, water, and air to break up soil and suck up debris material surrounding the pipe. The combination of debris and soil, also known as a "slurry", is sucked up through a large hose and moved to a mobile excavator storage tank. It is then hauled away.

The pressurized water and industrial strength vacuum work together to excavate and remove the soil at the same time, making daylighting both time-efficient and non-destructive.

The Benefits of Daylighting

It may be time to retire those old methods of excavation because daylighting offers significant benefits over traditional excavation equipment and processes.

These benefits extend to both those who rely on roadways for daily travel and contradicting companies that are responsible for making the repairs.


Because hydrovacs can break up materials surrounding the pipe and remove them simultaneously, daylighting is a far more time efficient method of excavation. Excavation jobs will take less time and create less of an inconvenience to drivers and travelers.


The savings in time also mean savings in money. Quicker excavation creates an increase in productivity -- saving companies from requiring longer hours from their crews.


Daylighting requires stringent safety standards that are carried out by highly trained crews. Daylighting excavation prevents workers from digging directly into the ground where buried wires may exist. It also ensures that no underground infrastructures are damaged.


Hydrovac equipment used for daylighting can be used in areas that have limited access or frozen surfaces. Because the hydrovac relies on a large hose to remove debris and slurry, there is no need to park the vehicle close to the excavation site. Unlike traditional excavation machinery, daylighting can be completed from 100 feet away from the dig site and dig down to 30 feet deep.

Daylighting is also flexible when it comes to weather and soil conditions. Hydrovacs can excavate frozen surfaces as well as any type of soil.

Daylighting Uses :

Daylighting can be used for any situation that requires excavation and cleaning.

Some common uses of daylighting and hydrovac equipment include :

  • Potholing

  • Exposing buried pipe and cables

  • Culvert clean outs

  • Service repair pits

  • Trenching potholes

  • Debris removal

  • Tank cleaning

  • Shoring installations

If a job requires excavation, it can be done with daylighting.

Contact Cloud 9 Services, Inc. today to find out more about our daylighting excavation services provided by our hydro excavation equipment. Call us, 407-481-2750, to schedule a service or get a free quote!

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