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Potholing for Utilities

Also know as Daylighting utilities

Curtis Walker

Potholing for utilities also known as daylighting excavation. This term is the process of safely exposing underground utility lines and pipes to obtain a visual confirmation of its infrastructure. Using a hydro excavation truck we're able to quickly and safely removes the debris to locate and expose the pipes and or utility lines. In return this method can help make excavation safer and more cost effective.


In the past, utility lines and pipes were exposed by hand digging, which is a very slow process and places the worker at risk if he/she should accidentally hit a power line with a shovel. Sometimes a backhoe was also used, but the backhoe method is huge risk. This can easily damage lines and wires.

How is potholing done?

When potholing, utility crews use a portable vacuum excavator. First, test holes, usually measuring 6 to 12 inches deep, are made along the line where they plan to dig or begin construction. They excavate the soil with high-speed suction straight down until the utility line is partially uncovered.

Then, displaced dirt and rock debris is suctioned away from the excavation area through a large hose. It is stored in a holding tank on the truck. Vacuum trucks with different capacity tanks can be used to fit the size of the job. Once the lines have been accurately located, accumulated wet or dry soil which was removed during the digging process can be replaced as backfill.

Damaging underground utilities

Damaging underground utilities can be very expensive. Not only downtime and potential fines or fees from contractors. The unnecessary or extra work now that needs to be done just to get back where you started. All of this can easily be avoided.


The hydro and the air pressure doesn't damage any existing utilities like heavy equipment could. In fact, the hydro excavation process allow us to maneuver around the existing utilities giving us a clear view of what there.

The vacuum excavator works in a wide variety of soils and conditions such as clay, rocky substrate and frozen ground. It exposes the pipes and utilities by using a combination of Air & Water Pressure. It then sucks up the slurry debris material utilizing a large attached hose.


Our hydro excavation trucks, tank stores the slurry debris and hauls it away for later disposal. Searching for potholing companies or more information about potholing services, please contact us at Cloud 9 Services, LLC, and one of our utility contractors will be happy to assist you.

potholing for utilities
Daylighting for utilities
potholing using hydro excavation

Hire a Professional Potholing/Daylighting Excavation Company Today!


Hope this help you understands what Potholing or Daylighting excavation is & why it's the safe way to dig. If you are in need of a service please give us a call we are here 24/7 Nights and Weekends.


Potholing/Daylighting Excavation Services

Benefits of Potholing with Vacuum Excavation

Using a backhoe to dig subsurface utilities is dangerous, time-consuming, and unreliable. The optimal choice for digging underground to locate a buried utility is by using a high-powered vacuum excavating machine. Over the years, more and more construction projects have opted for hydro-vacuum excavation. Essentially using a hydrovac, or hydro excavation, unit to dig up the earth using pressurized water to liquefy the soil and then using a vacuum truck to remove the debris into a tank. Using hydrovac units is a massive step that Cloud 9 Services, LLC has taken in implementing a better excavation processes overall. Here are a few benefits from utilizing this method :

1. It offers and eco-friendly, precise, and clean method of moving soil. Hydrovac units allow for a non-destructive and accurate process to excavate soil and locate underground utilities. Because there is neither mechanical extraction involved nor trenches lined with contaminated soil, there is little to no chance of run off to sewers and waterway systems. It also reduces excavation site mess and congestion.

2. It gets the job completed much faster. Compared to the old-fashioned and laborious way of soil removal, using the hydrovac process requires less effort. In fact, it completes the digging process 10 times quicker than a shovel.

3. It's safer than traditional machinery. Hydrovac excavations are non-mechanic, making them effective in reducing construction mishaps brought about by machinery.

4. Because it is proven faster, more efficient, and more productive than conventional equipment with minimal risk of underground damage or work hazard, hydrovac excavations make for a cost-effective option.

What is Utility Potholing?

Utility potholing or day lighting uses a hydro excavation truck instead of a backhoe or a shovel to find underground utilities. In return offers a fast and safe way to obtain visual of the underground pipes or utilities. This less invasive technique loosen the soils so it can be easily extracted. Allow it through an vacuum hose which transports it to a debris tank for later disposal or back filling. 

Why not use a digital locator instead of potholing

While digital locators have become more and more accurate. It's really important to see exactly where the lines are. Contractors are not allow to just dig in a safe zone, which could be 18 inches to 3 feet from either side. Every state has there own requirements for a safe zone. These requirement still include a non destructive method to dig it. So, you could dig it by hand or use a hydro excavator. 

Is potholing worth it

YES, hands down! Hitting a gas line or utility pipe with a backhoe, trencher or a horizontal directional drill could be catastrophic. Think about it, If you hit a water line that feeds in to a hospital. It could be down for hours or even days. You or your company wouldn't want to be responsible for those damages I promise you.


The cost of the damages far exceed the cost for potholing. 

How much does potholing cost?

The costs vary depending on a wide array of factors during the excavation process, which include but are not limited to :

  • How many holes are being excavated

  • The depth and size of each hole

  • The proximity to water and disposal site (depending on the location of each could delay the excavation productivity and the job could take hours longer than originally intended)

  • Disposal costs

These are just a few factors the contractor has to take into consideration before being able to factor in a price. At Cloud 9 Services, LLC we are here for all your potholing needs and if you call us today, 407-481-2750, one of our contractors would be happy to assist in giving you a quote for your excavation job.

Hire a Professional Potholing/Daylighting Excavation Company Today!

Hope this help you understands what Potholing or Daylighting excavation is & why it's the safe way to dig. If you are in need of a service please give us a call we are here 24/7 Nights and Weekends.


Potholing/Daylighting Excavation Services

Serving the Entire Florida Area

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Curtis Walker


(407) 481-2750


1201 W. Jackson St

Orlando, FL 32805

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