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What is Non-Destructive Digging and How Does it Work?

These days, more and more builders, developers, surveyors and site managers are choosing non-destructive digging for excavation work on site.

Also known as vacuum excavation or hydro excavation, non-destructive digging is a safe, clean and affordable alternative to traditional excavation methods. So if you’re curious to find out how it works and why it’s fast becoming the preferred option for digging on site, read on.

What is non-destructive digging?


Non-destructive digging (NDD) is a type of excavation that is designed to cause minimal impact to the surrounding people, plants and environment. While traditional excavation will use mechanical methods and machines to dig up the earth to expose the underground area, leaving mess behind and potentially causing damage to tree roots and underground services, non-destructive digging uses a combination of a high-power vacuum and high-pressure water to clear the area safely and efficiently with less mess.

Vacuum excavation can remove liquid, small particles and heavy debris and is frequently used for utility installations (such as telecommunications), pipe installations and replacements and waste removal in both private and public land.

How does vacuum excavation work?


Vacuum excavation is possible thanks to the purpose-built sucker truck that includes a powerful engine and large spoil capacity. The operator uses either vacuum sucking power or high-pressure water excavation to remove soil, leaves and debris, clearing the area so that the on-site work can continue faster. 

Vacuum excavation and hydro excavation are generally used in combination, with high pressure water jets often applied to the area first to break up the soil or debris before the waste is sucked up for removal. This style of excavation is particularly useful for potholing, clean ups, dewatering, directional drilling, mud and dirt removal, stormwater pit cleaning and locating services and underground assets. Because of the lower risk of damage, NDD is now the preferred (and at times, the required) excavation method for most councils across Melbourne.

Should you choose NDD for your next project?

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If you’re managing a project and need fast, effective and mess-free digging on site, NDD is something you should definitely consider. It is by far the best option if you are working near pipes, services or tree roots that can be easily damaged by mechanical excavation methods. Non-destructive digging will give you peace of mind that you can get the job done without causing damage or disruption to gas, electricity, water or telecommunications infrastructure, or harming natural assets such as street trees. 

Our skilled operators will get the job done fast and with care and precision, to protect underground assets and meet your exact standards. In addition, the ability of sucker trucks to remove excess water, dirt and debris from site with ease is another benefit, with excess waste taken away for safe disposal by our fleet, so your project can keep moving and avoid unnecessary delays and messy clean ups.        

Safer, cleaner and faster digging

When it comes to excavation on site, non-destructive digging is often a safer, cleaner and faster alternative to traditional excavation methods. If you’d like to discuss whether vacuum excavation is a good fit for your needs, get in touch with our team on (03) 8592 8100 for expert advice or download our Non-Destructive Digging pricing guide for a comprehensive breakdown of costs for our services. 

MCS Connect can assist with all aspects of non-destructive digging services, and we have a fleet of trucks and trained operators that are highly experienced to ensure your excavation is completed on time and budget.

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