Hydro Excavation vs. Traditional Excavation

Hydro Excavation vs. Traditional Excavation: Which is Right for Your Project?

Hydro Excavation vs. Traditional Excavation

Excavation is a necessary part of many construction and landscaping projects. Traditionally, excavation involved using heavy machinery to dig trenches and remove soil. A newer method, known as hydro excavation, has gained popularity in recent years. Which method is right for your project? CST Group explores the benefits and drawbacks of each method to help you make an informed decision.

Traditional Excavation

Traditional excavation is effective for larger projects requiring considerable amounts of soil to be removed quickly and is ideal for projects requiring deep excavations, such as installing underground utilities or constructing building foundations.


Traditional excavation allows for removing large volumes of soil in less time. It can make removing large boulders or rocks that may jam the excavation process easier.


The use of heavy machinery in a traditional excavation can increase the risk of damage to nearby structures or the environment. Additionally, controlling the volume of soil removed can be difficult, leading to over-excavation and unnecessary costs. Therefore, traditional excavation can be expensive, particularly for smaller projects or those with limited budgets.

Hydro Excavation

Hydro excavation, on the other hand, is a non-destructive method that uses a hydro excavator to break up the soil with pressurised water, which is then removed using a vacuum. This hydro excavation process is often used in areas where traditional excavation is impossible, such as around sensitive infrastructure or urban areas.


A major advantage of hydro excavation is that it produces less noise and disturbance than conventional excavation, making it a popular choice for projects in residential areas. Additionally, hydro excavation is more precise than traditional excavation, allowing for a more accurate excavation.


The main drawback of hydro excavation is that it can be slower than traditional excavation, as it takes more time to break up soil using a hydro excavator.

Choosing the Right Excavation Method

The location and size of the project play the main role in which method is best suited. Hydro excavation may be the better choice if the project is in a residential area or near sensitive infrastructure due to its non-destructive nature.

Digging Deeper: Pros and Cons of Excavation Methods

Both hydro excavation and traditional excavation have benefits and drawbacks. When deciding which method to use, it’s important to consider the specific needs of your project, including the location, soil type, and desired level of precision. By weighing the benefits and drawbacks of each method, you can make an informed decision and ensure a successful excavation project.

Have you got a hydro excavation project for which you need CST Group? Feel free to contact us online or call us on 0800 11 44 90.