MN Roto-Rooter’s HydroVac excavation is the best and safest method for potholing or daylighting (two interchangeable terms) or utility locating. Potholing-daylighting is a construction technique for acquiring visual confirmation of obstructions underground, such as utilities, near the planned excavation path. Simply, along the proposed underground construction path, an exploratory hole is excavated to confirm there is no conflict with existing subsurface features.

To achieve the desired result, HydroVac excavation is used, consisting of self-contained units of pressurized air and water to turn and extract the slurry made as a result. The slurry is removed from the excavation area via a hose applying high-velocity suction, where then the slurry is transported to a storage tank or truck remotely located (perhaps hundreds of feet away if necessary).

For the fact that HydroVac excavators use low-pressure water to displace soil and make slurry, these machines have proven ideally suited for sensitive potholing-daylighting and for identifying existing utility potholing near or at underground construction projects. It’s a noninvasive technique proven to work in horizontal directional drilling (HDD), such as for fiber optics installations.

The ultimate goal is implementing the most effective means to simultaneously dig without causing damage to underground utilities, which is a very expensive mistake regarding downtime, potential fines to the contractor, and preserving human safety and health to say the least. Unlike conventional heavy equipment, HydroVac excavation is able to expose and maneuver around utilities without damage.


Even though digital locators have improved accuracy, it is still essential for the excavator to see precisely where the utility pipe or line is located. In fact, now contractors are not allowed to use conventional heavy equipment to dig in the safe zone, which is generally a few feet within the line. Only non-destructive means (eg HydroVac excavation) is the way to go. It sure beats the old shovel and bucket method.

Even a shovel against fiber-optics cable is potentially destructive and a costly mistake. So, being only able to use non-destructive HydroVac excavation or to dig by hand, potholing-daylighting and utility potholing are best accomplished with MN Roto-Rooter’s HydroVac excavation method. When you consider much of today’s utilities are installed HDD without the traditional trench as a dig guide, why take the chance?

The payoff is huge and can prevent a catastrophic accident. Taking extra means or potholing-daylighting may appear to be taking extra steps, but it is actually the most cost-effective and safest measure. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved, from worker to contractor and customer.

Make sure your construction project runs smoothly and safely using MN Roto-Rooter’s HydroVac excavation process.