Slot Trenching With Hydro Excavation

Slot trenching with hydro excavation is a construction method involving the excavation of narrow trenches for the installation of underground utilities such as cables, pipes, and conduits. This can be done by using minimal impact techniques like hydro excavation. This is the preferred approach since it is non-mechanical, non-destructive, and a more efficient operation.

Hydro excavation is the process of moving or removing soil with pressurized water. After, a vacuum truck sucks up the debris into a tank. The reason this way is becoming popular is due to being quicker, safer, and inexpensive compared to mechanical excavation. That practice involves digging manually which takes longer and requires more labor. It’s the older way of doing things and isn’t too accurate. It digs trenches much wider than they need to be with large equipment that can damage surrounding areas. There is also a risk of harming pipes and cables underground. 

Slot trenching with hydro excavation makes it easier for workers to dig thin, narrow trenches that are very accurate and contained to the job they’re doing. There is minimal back-filling which allows the job to be completed faster. There is no heavy equipment involved so it is non-destructive, leaving the work area tidy.

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Locating and exposing utilities with slot trenching


Hydro excavation is safe and efficient to expose underground utilities. Slot trenching could be done to install signs and posts, but mostly used for installing subsurface utilities. The action is used to find and expose things underground, also known as daylighting. This insures the surrounding material and soil is undisturbed. 

Slot trenching and vacuum can be used where heavy machinery is not permitted. If a line needs to be exposed or located for repairs, workers excavate to make room for their work space. There is a method called exploratory slot trenching, which is the process of clearing an area to confirm the location of existing utilities. This makes it easier to find astray lines like plastic or non-conductive material.

The major benefit of slot trenching with a vacuum is that it is safer. It is less labor intensive and doesn’t involve massive machinery so it becomes a safer environment for workers. Slot trenching with hydro excavation is precise as well as cost-effective due to the quickness of the job and the small amount of machinery used.


The hydro excavation and vacuum way of the slot trenching process is considered to be more environmentally friendly as it removes the least amount of dirt possible. The result is a clean, precise hole that is done efficiently and does not damage the area around it.

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