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Vacuum excavation increases safety at UCF

Vacuum excavation has been used at the University of Central Florida (UCF) to increase safety and efficiency.

Utility works at UCF – including emergency water line break repair, debris removal, drain cleaning, spill clean-up, and more – have required that utility worker identify and map underground utility networks to avoid safety risks, particularly when using traditional hand shovel excavation.

“We have a lot of old utility lines in the ground that haven’t been located in many decades,” said UCF Utility Supervisor Anthony Lugo.

“They have never been marked properly, and it is our job to find them, mark them, and put them on the map.

“Finding those lines can be time consuming and intrusive to the property.

“But the biggest obstacle, when you are part of the utility crew, is safety, you don’t want to hit electrical lines with a shovel.”


The utility crew didn’t have an alternative to traditional excavation techniques for soft digging and locating, so after searching for a viable solution, UCF purchased a Vac-Tron AIR 373 SDT vacuum excavator in 2016.

Since introducing the new machine, the safety and efficiency of the crew has significantly increased, allowing the team to quickly perform locating activities, reduce the time take to complete projects, more easily clear debris during emergency works, reduce storm drain and wastewater spill clean-up time.

“It saves us a lot of time, what used to take 4-6 hours, now only takes 1-2 hours,” said Mr Lugo.

“The biggest thing is safety, safety is the key aspect. The Vac-Tron unit allows us to be safe in an expedited fashion.

“This is considered soft digging, which is just basically pulling the dirt out of the ground so you’re not striking anything.

“You could hit a high voltage electrical line, high pressure water or gas line, any number of things, and the Vac-Tron AIR unit helps to eliminate that.”

For more information visit the Vac-Tron website.

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