New Vacuum Excavator Used in Bell County

Bell County Road and Bridge purchased a trailer mounted, vacuum excavator in 2014. The Ditch Witch FX20 model’s pressure nozzle and vacuum hose enables our crews to locate the depth of underground utilities in a nondestructive manner. The model cost the county $25,000 and is equipped with a 150 gallon spoils tank and a 27 hp Kohler gasoline engine. It was purchased after several lines were damaged by our crews with hope to reduce the number of damaged lines on our projects. Installation of utility lines are typically shallow and may encroach in our work zone. Some were damaged while we performed repairs of base failures. 

Our staff calls for a utility locate by phone and companies mark the location of lines on the surface. Our crew determines the depth of the underground line using the high pressure water nozzle. The slurry resulting from the water jet is pulled into a large tank creating a void in the ground. The line can be pin pointed visually using the device. This allows our crews performing sign installation and ditch work to know the depth of the utility lines. 

There are no hazardous wastes resulting in the process. The material removed may be disposed of without special requirements. We have used it for construction projects, drainage ditch excavation work orders, and sign post installation. Our crews have seen fewer damage claims by utility companies since we verify the depth of the lines. 

Submitted by Bryan Neaves, P.E. (1-8-15)

P.O Box 2573
Cedar Park, TX 78630
Phone: 512-260-1376

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