The Trenching Tag-Team: Supplementing Traditional Irrigation Installation Strategies with Vacuum Excavation

By Chapman Hancock, product marketing manager – vacuum excavation

Trenchers work. It’s why they’ve been the primary open-cut utility and irrigation installation asset since Ed Malzhan invented the DWP Service Line trencher back in 1949. But even the most agile trenchers don’t have the flexibility of a soft-excavation tactic like vacuum excavation. And flexibility is just getting more important as today’s jobsites are including a growing number of existing utilities, landscaping and hardscaping obstacles.

With its easily maneuverable wand and option for hydro and air-excavation, vacs are less invasive, more versatile and can supplement trenchers on sensitive and space-restricted jobsites.

One of the most common uses of vacs in irrigation installation is to mitigate utility strikes. For example, imagine you’re using a trencher to install an irrigation line to a home and you come across a gas line directly in your path Gas lines – or any existing utility – need to be exposed before trenching past it to ensure its not struck.

Many contractors turn to hand-excavation in these situations, but the majority of utility strikes actually happen with a shovel, not a machine. A vac can safely daylight that utility and reduce the chance of a strike.

Vacs are also increasingly being used to create a trench themselves. Sensitive areas like an existing garden are a perfect example. Trenching through a garden would cause damage, but a vac can precisely excavate around the flowers or plants and keep the irrigation installation job moving.

Working next to a house or fence is another example. Vac wands allow operators the flexibility to work up close to potential hazards – whether it’s existing landscaping or the south wall of a house.

Underground construction is a big town, its big enough for both trenchers and vacs. While trenching is certainly the best option for long, straight open-cuts, the smartest contractors will know where their trencher can’t go and when to tag in a vac. Listen to the Green Industry Pros Grass Roots Podcast to hear more about using vacuum excavation in irrigation installation.

HYDRAULIC BREAKER
Used for construction and demolition, our breakers can be used to break up asphalt, concrete or even clay. The hydraulic hammer is perfect for any small or medium job you might have. More up-time in the field is always the goal, and with only two moving parts and a few seals, there’s no reason for down-time.
Compatible Models

SK600, SK800, SK900, SK1050, SK1550, SK1750

ROCK SAW

Best suited for irrigation and fiber installation, the Rock Saw attachment can effortlessly cut through rock, concrete, and other tough materials with unmatched precision. 

Compatible Models

SK1050, SK1550, SK1750

BACKHOE
Easily move materials for rebuilds, new construction, footings, utility repairs and more with this compact and versatile attachment.
Compatible Models

SK800, SK900, SK1050, SK1550, SK1750

STUMP GRINDERS
Featuring a heavy-duty boom design, powerful stump grinding attachments quickly shred stumps down to nothing. Easy maneuvering from stump to stump and increased visibility turns more ground stumps into more profit.
Compatible Models

SK600, SK800, SK900, SK1050, SK1550, SK1750, SK3000

MULTITASK TOOL
Your multipurpose tool for the ultimate multi-tasker is here. Engineered to grab tight to heavy materials and move them with ease and precision, the multi-task tool is your go-to for heavy applications. Easy to operate with convenient, functional levers.
Compatible Models

SK600, SK800, SK900, SK1050, SK1550, SK1750

CORE DRILL
With the MC-450 coring attachment, utility maintenance is simple and less disruptive. Featuring intuitive controls and an integrated water tank, the MC-450 is the perfect choice for quick cuts and a more productive coring process. A fully adjustable 0 to 280 rpm speed allows for enhanced control and greater productivity.
Compatible Models

SK1050, SK1550, SK1750