When a client in Cornwall needed to excavate an old culvert that had laid dormant for several years, they needed a quick solution to remove the built up material. Over the years ground material had built up inside the culvert, almost completely filling it. With contractors unsure of the structure integrity though, they suggested the use of a vacuum excavator.
Contractors knew that gaining access to the remotely located culvert would cause an initial challenge, but the ability to run extension pipework off the vacuum excavation unit could provide the ideal solution. To meet this challenge, 35 metres of extension pipework were used in total to reach down to the culvert.
The vacuum excavation unit generates strong suction power, which is used to pull away material without needing to physically dig. A remote control operated boom provides precise positioning of the air flow, and an air lance supported the excavation by breaking up residue.
Safety first approach
Initially a 3 metre depth was cleared so contractors could thoroughly inspect the structure, and ensure the safety of colleagues before entering inside to continue excavations.
This process continued, carefully excavating 3 metre lengths at a time before downing tools to further inspect the structure. Measuring 8 metres in length, with a height and depth of 1.7 metres; the culvert was safely excavated across three days.
The vacuum excavator also benefits from a built-in skip capable of holding up to 8m³, meaning ground could be cleared quickly each day, then stock piled on-site ready for removal.