Edmontonians are no strangers to road construction, and we are more than accustomed to the sights of torn up roads and exposed pipelines. Not only do these processes have a visual impact, but the time it takes to dig up a pipe, let alone repair it, affects getting to where we need to go and how we get there.

If you’re a company responsible for pipe repair, old school excavation tactics also affect your bottom line. While the traditional methods of excavation certainly do the trick, crews are now turning to daylighting as their preferred method of excavation.

What is Daylighting?

Daylighting is a process in which underground pipes are exposed to daylight using a hydrovac, or hydro-vacuum excavator.

Hydrovac excavators use a combination of pressure, water, and air to break up soil and suck up debris material surrounding the pipe. The combination of debris and soil, also know as “slurry”, is sucked up through a large hose and moved to a mobile excavator storage tank. It is then hauled away.

The pressurized water and industrial strength vacuum work together to excavate and remove the soil at the same time, making daylighting both time-efficient and non-destructive.

The Benefits of Daylighting

It may be time to retire those old school methods of excavation. Daylighting offers significant benefits over traditional excavation equipment and processes.

These benefits extend both to those who rely on roadways for daily travel and the contracting companies that are responsible for making the repairs.


Because hydrovacs can break up materials surrounding the pipe and remove them simultaneously, daylighting is a far more time-efficient method of excavation. Excavation job will take less time and create less of an inconvenience to drivers and travelers.


The savings in time also means a savings in money. Quicker excavation creates an increase in productivity – saving companies and contractors from requiring longer hours from their crews.


Daylighting requires stringent safety standards that are carried out by highly trained crews. Daylighting excavation prevents workers from digging directly into the ground where buried wires may exist. It also ensures that no underground infrastructures are damaged.


Hydrovac equipment used for daylighting can be used in areas that have limited access or frozen surfaces. Because the hydrovac relies on a large hose to remove debris and slurry, there is no need to park the vehicle close to the excavation site. Unlike traditional excavation machinery, daylighting can be completed from 100 feet (30.5m) away from the dig site and dig down to 30 feet (9m) deep.

Daylighting is also flexible when it comes to weather and soil conditions. Hydrovacs can excavate frozen surfaces as well as any type of soil.

Where is Daylighting Used?

Daylighting can be used for any situation that requires excavation and cleaning.

Some common uses of daylighting and hydrovac equipment include:

  • Potholing
  • Exposing buried pipes and cables
  • Culvert clean-outs
  • Service repair pits
  • Trenching potholes
  • Debris removal
  • Tank cleaning
  • Shoring installations

If a job requires excavation, it can be done with daylighting.

Daylighting Services

Peak Sewer & Underground Service offers scheduled and emergency hydrovac services.

Within our hydrovac department we offer a number of services including daylighting, digging, catch basin, and sewer manhole cleaning and flushing.

Want to learn more about daylighting and its benefits? Contact Peak Sewers today!

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