As infrastructure surges in 2018, many construction managers face the challenge of building around power lines, gas pipelines and other sensitive utility sites. The consequences of not properly assessing sites can be dire: line damage, environmental destruction, trench cave-ins, OSHA violations, and severe project delays. In some cases, striking volatile utilities — such as live electric wires or natural gas pipes — can lead to worker injury or even death.

Thankfully, there is a turn-key solution for the mid-Atlantic region. ERC offers Air Lance Excavation, a non-mechanical and non-destructive way to safely expose and identify buried utilities. The process even allows you to identify the exact depth of a utility. This practice can virtually eliminate accidental line damage and trench cave-in.

ERC Air Lance Excavation equipment uses compressed air to produce a high-speed jet to break up soil, aiding in rapid digging. It is paired with a powerful vacuum that simultaneously removes soil, gravel, sand and small rocks from the dig site. The equipment provides a safe alternative to traditional soil-excavation methods that may puncture or damage sensitive underground utilities. This excavation technology is often referred to as air vacuum excavation or air excavation. Air and hydro excavation may at times be simultaneously employed.

air lance excavation workers

Benefits of ERC Air Lance Excavation Services:

  • Ideal for small diameter, deep excavation projects/jobs, and trenches where large excavation equipment may not be safe or practical.
  • Environmentally sound and economical alternative to the more expensive hydro excavation, which utilizes up to 8-10 gallons of water per minute.
  • Eliminates pollution potential caused by hydro excavation runoff.
  • Eliminates the time-consuming cleanup process and costly removal of mud generated by hydro excavation.

Air Lance vacuum air excavation is ideal for applications such as: underground utility verification, utility line service terminations, remote excavation (inside buildings), valve box and catch basin cleaning, plumbing applications, clearing environmental boring holes and general pre-job surveying.

ERC’s Air Lance Excavation equipment has been benefitting Pennsylvania and Maryland businesses for years. In one instance, Air Lance Excavation equipment safely uncovered a total of seven unmarked, unidentified lines for a major Pennsylvania utility company. ERC removed 10,300 cubic feet of material for the project around main gas lines at an active natural gas fired power plan.

“The equipment and personnel provided by ERC were by far the most efficient and professional we’ve worked with. The project was very difficult, with excavation around active gas mains and sanitary sewer lines, ERC adhered to all personal protective and safety requirements, and finished the dig ahead of schedule and under budget,” said Kevin John, General Manager of EnviroAir Technologies.

Air Lance Excavation is one of many ways ERC honors our company commitment to provide turn-key, environmentally sound waste management solutions using the latest technologies to help our customers meet their sustainability goals.