Vacuum Excavation — A History Lesson

vacuum excavation truck

Vacuum excavation; used for unblocking drains, sewer drains and even for mining purposes. Something that we won’t be able to live without today.

But where did it all start? How did it go from the days that the vacuum excavation was discovered until today, where we have a much more modern life? This is some history about the vacuum excavation so that you can get a better understanding of where it all came from.

What is vacuum excavation

First of all, what is a vacuum excavator? This isn’t something that many people know about. Until you need to get your sewer drain to unblock.

This is normally a truck that has a huge vacuum pipe. It gets put into the sewer drain and it vacuums all the dirt out, unblocking the drains. However, this isn’t the only use for the vacuum excavator. It is also getting used in mines, to vacuum underground to find some diamonds, gold, and other valuables. Making it a lot easier than digging a hole by man.

The origins of vacuum excavations

The first vacuum excavation was done in California during the early 1800s. People rushed to California for digging for diamonds and gold. Finding out that mining was dangerous, they search for a much easier way to get to the gold and diamonds.

This is when they invented the hydro-excavation machine. Working similar to the vacuum excavator, but with only one difference, the vacuum version is more modern and more accurate getting rid of debris underground.

Modernization of the vacuum trucks

During the 1900s, with technology a bit more advanced as during the 1800s, they turned the hydro-excavation machines into vacuum excavation machines. Making mining easier, faster and safer.

They starting to use the excavators for other things, like sewer drain cleaning. This all started during the 1970s by designing and building the vacuums on trucks. Making it mobile so that the excavators can go to people that need this service.

Today, you will not see these trucks as much, but it is still being used in some towns, and the vacuum excavators are for sure being used in the mines. But, in more quantity, and more modernized.

Vacuum excavation today

Today, the vacuum excavation trucks and systems are a lot smaller with larger tanks and automated. It is a lot easier and safer to use. These tanks can be on-site for much longer periods because of the larger tanks.

These tanks are still getting used in drains and in certain mines. Today’s excavators produce a lot less noise. Meaning that they are operating in silence, something that wasn’t possible a couple of years back. These machines are also now working a lot faster, and you can see how deep they are going. The last improvement that they have made, is how deep these vacuums can go underground. They can go much deeper than before, getting better results, in much less time.  Accidents on site, because of the vacuum excavator is limited now, in comparison with when the vacuum was first used. Making this a much safer option than years ago.

This is some interesting information about Vacuum excavations. From the history of when the vacuum excavation was first use, and the city where it all started, to where we are today. Still using the vacuum excavators, but on a larger scale, more modern and with larger tanks. Ensuring that it is easier to use, faster to use and with a lot less noise. The results are also much better today than when it was during the beginning with the vacuum excavators.

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