What is a Hydraulic Excavator, and How does it Work?

A hydraulic excavator is a machine that uses water pressure and a vacuum tank to remove debris from utility lines without damaging sensitive utility components such as cables, water and sewer lines. The hydro excavator is usually mounted on a heavy hydrovac truck chassis and uses a built-in vacuum pump and hose to pull the loosened soil from the ground into the truck’s storage tank.

How does it Operate with Water?

The water for removing the hydraulic excavator is obtained from local hydrants or other sources as required. The water nozzle of the dewatering truck is attached to a large diameter flexible vacuum hose with a non-metallic tip to protect the underground utilities from damage from accidental contact with the hose. For underground utilities that require excavation, a hydraulic excavator is often the preferred method of removing the pavement.

A typical excavator equipped with a steel bucket/shovel can quickly destroy fragile sewer tiles or cables. The hydro excavator loosens the soil with a water jet, while a vacuum hose sucks the water and mud into a waiting storage tank. The hose is equipped with a non-metallic tip to prevent damage to the delicate wiring from contact with the hose. The powerful extraction of the water in connection with the vacuum suction of the hydraulic excavator creates an almost water-free area directly under the hose nozzle.

Components of a Hydraulic Excavator

The Boom – It’s the base of the mechanical arm. Here are two cylinders of the hydraulic system that provides the necessary power to carry out the excavations. It is why hydraulic excavators move similar to a human arm since it is made up of two parts, arm and wrist.

The Engine – Hydraulic excavators have two engines. The first is diesel, and the second is hydraulic. The second generates the energy to be able to move the machine.

The Booth – Depending on your needs of the excavator model, you can obtain hydraulic excavators with a closed cabin or an open cabin. The first of these is noise-proof, and the other is not.

The Crown – The hydraulic excavator arm can rotate on its axis, 360 degrees. In this way, these types of excavators have a more excellent range of reach. However, the fixed platform on a truck remains stable.

How is the Debris Collected?

A special vacuum pump is required to remove an exact amount of dirt with the amount of water used. Without the right vacuum pump, it can result in excessive labour, water usage, and draining of materials, which can add significantly to the cost of completing the project.

Using the right hydraulic excavator will produce the most economical and environmentally friendly results. Often, the removed soil, once free of contaminants, can be drained back into the removal site, saving filling and disposal costs.


The use of a hydraulic excavator also ensures that no more material than is necessary is removed from the excavation site, which prevents the subsoil from being weakened by undermining. Also known as vacuum excavators, it works as a digger and sucks materials from the earth’s surface with very high pressure. Drains through pipes and then deposited in a tank for storing waste.