The infrastructure for a fire protection system is a complex mix of sprinklers, valves, and piping both within and outside of the building it protects. These systems are all connected to dedicated underground lines that ensure the availability of water to the system, including all of the fire department connections (FDC), fire hydrants, post indicator valves (PIV), and other components. And, when these underground lines need repair, doing so is costly and can be potentially very risky because they require excavation to access them.
Risks Associated with Traditional Excavation
Excavation to expose and repair utility lines can be risky business when using shovels, backhoes, and other types of earth-moving equipment because there is always the risk of hitting buried utilities. To make matters worse, it is not at all uncommon to find underground utility lines that have been mismarked or not marked at all. The consequences of damaging existing utility lines can vary, but they are never good – hitting a water or sewer line will cause a disruption in service while hitting a gas line could result in a potentially deadly explosion.
Aside from these risks, there are also limitations associated with traditional excavation. Frozen ground, for example, can delay important repairs. Sometimes, maintenance or repairs are needed in areas that are not easily accessible with heavy equipment. Traditional excavation can also increase reconstruction costs such as backfill, concrete encasement, asphalt patching, and maintenance of these areas. If your lines are located under a parking lot, for example, your business not only has the inconvenience of having to close a large area of the lot to accommodate the excavation but you also have the added cost of repaving after the work is complete.
Hydro Excavation Offers the Perfect Alternative
Hydro excavation trucks offer a cost-effective and far safer alternative to traditional excavation equipment for the purposes of locating and exposing underground utilities for repairs and maintenance. These trucks are equipped with a single, flexible hose that delivers highly pressurized water to break up the soil and state-of-the-art vacuum technology to remove the displaced soil and water from the excavation site. This method of excavation offers many advantages over traditional, mechanical methods, including:
- Work can be done year-round – Hydro excavation trucks are equipped with heaters that dispense pressurized water hot enough to “dig” through frozen earth, eliminating the noxious fumes and fire hazards associated with thawing methods that would otherwise be required to prepare the ground for excavation.
- Space limitations are not a problem – Unlike traditional excavation equipment that needs room to move, a hydro excavation truck can be parked away from the excavation site and operated at a distance by extending its hose into the site. This makes hydro excavation ideal for small, congested, or otherwise confined areas that would be inaccessible to heavy equipment.
- Precision excavation – With flexible water jets and vacuum hoses little more than a foot in diameter, hydro excavation trucks offer the ability to make small, precisely controlled excavations to reduce the disturbance area, minimizing inconvenience and saving on reconstruction costs. This also allows pipes to be repaired or installed parallel or across existing utility lines with virtually no risk of damaging them.
The biggest benefit of hydro excavation, however, is the safety factor. Unlike manual or mechanical methods, hydro excavation will not cut through or otherwise damage existing utilities, significantly reducing the risk of potentially dangerous utility strikes.
Koorsen Has the Equipment Necessary to Meet Any Challenge
Koorsen offers risk-free hydro excavation for the installation, repair, and replacement of all underground components of your fire protection system. Our state-of-the-art hydro excavation truck and expert technicians can handle even the most challenging site conditions to keep your fire protection system up to code and functioning properly. Contact us today to learn more about these exciting new services.