Frequently Asked Questions

What are some other applications for vacuum excavation?

Besides utility potholing, vacuum excavation can be used for variety of other jobs. In cleaning applications, it can be used to empty areas such as valve boxes, catch basins and equipment vaults. In clearing applications, it can remove debris from areas such as rock saw trenches, basements and crawl spaces. And in mass excavations, vacuum excavating can also be used to excavate project elements such as trenches, caissons and foundations.

What works best to loosen soil – high pressure water or air?

In porous, hard or rocky soils, air is preferred for several reasons. When air is blown under pressure into the soil, it penetrates the soil and expands to explode the soil from below, rather than chipping the soil from above. Air promotes a faster dig than water because it creates dry spoils that can be used for backfill. This means there are no muddy spoils to be hauled away or additional outside backfill needed. Air is a gas and is more easily compressed than water making it the safer alternative on the job site.

Why would I choose Vacuum Excavation over digging a hole with a backhoe?

Vacuum excavation has three key advantages over a backhoe. It is faster, allowing us to do more work in less time with fewer people. It is safer, because digging with backhoes or even hand tools can damage buried utilities. Vacuum excavation potholes are also easier to patch, even if they are located under a street surface.

What is the territorial range that SSC works within?

We will work anywhere. We have done projects in Arizona, Texas, California and even the U.S. Virgin Islands.

What information does SSC require to provide a cost estimate?

We need specific information on the bore, such as diameter, type of product line, geo-technical report, access to the job site, length of bore, and obstacle we are boring under.

For vacuum excavation projects, we will require the location of where the work is taking place, information on known utilities in the area, traffic control and surface restoration requirements. 

Does SSC have the ability to “turn-key” a project?

Yes. We can dig our own pits, provide shore boxes and cranes (for shoring) in order to give the general contractor a product line where all he has to do is issue us a contract.

What types of product lines can you install?

After an auger bore, tunnel or pipe ram is completed, we can install product lines ranging from DIP, PVC, HDPE, RCP, PCP and VCP inside casing using skids, railings or spacers. 

How accurately can you install a product line?

With auger boring or tunneling, we can maintain +/-1% accuracy over the length of the bore. 

Can you bore through solid rock?

Yes. We can bore through solid rock using auger boring, hand tunneling, or small boring unite (SBU). SSC can provide procedures to cope with any mix of soils.

How many conduits can you install at one time?

In auger boring, we can install as many conduits that will fit inside a steel casing.

I have several different utilities to install; can you install more than one conduit at a time?

Yes. With auger boring or tunneling, we can install a steel sleeve then a variety of conduits or pipes into that casing.

What are the largest and smallest bores you can accomplish?

We can install casing as small as 12″ in diameter to carry small utilities. On record, our largest pipe installed is a 120” (10’ diameter) steel casing under an intersection in south Phoenix. Whatever size or type of product line you need installed, we have the ability to accomplish your request and can advise you on what size is appropriate depending on utility size, type, and product specifications.

What is the longest bore you can perform?

We completed a 42” auger bore for 740’ in Southern Arizona under a I-19 link to Green Valley. 

What is Intelligent Tunnel Design?

We provide the expertise needed to intelligently design tunnels by successfully implementing a three step process involving the planning, design, and construction of a project. We focus on providing the project owner with everything needed to obtain satisfactory, long-term utilization of the finished facility. 

What Our Clients Say:

  • “Just wanted to say thank you for the safety culture your company has. It’s a breath of fresh air to see other companies embracing being safe. I sat in on your crews’ safety meeting this morning prior to the start of their work on Ray Rd. “

    Scott Nunemaker – Vice President, RCCM

  • “Kuddos to your guys. Not once has any of your foreman’s EVER put up a fuss when I’ve asked them to work a little late. Response is always “whatever you want and we’ll stay as long as you need us to.” I really appreciate all the hard work they do for me. Thank you sir.”

    Travis Barrick – Field Supervisor, Felix Construction

  • “A big thank you to SSC for jumping on this quickly as they did to help the team get this information so quickly. It’s much appreciated and was pretty impressive to see 5 separate potholing crews descend upon Rio Salado the way they did today!”

    Christopher Laute, Resident Engineer, Valley Metro

  • We’ve used SSC for a number of years and I’ve been very pleased. Thanks and keep up the great work.

    Dave Klann, Staff Engineer, Mactec

  • SSC did a great job. Their assistance during pre-construction was greatly appreciated and differentiated them from the competition. Keep doing what you do best!

    Jim Drago, Sundt Construction

  • I called with short notice to some work and SSC responded immediately. In this market, dollars seem to control everything and quality of people and work seem to have diminished. The professionalism and hard work of your crew takes me back to when people knew what they were doing and cared. Intelligent guys that work […]

    Lonnie Ferguson, Project Manager, Construction 70

  • As a civil engineering consultant, I usually recommend your services but rarely use them with the exception being vacuum excavating. I have attended your seminars in the past and find them very helpful. I recommend continuing the education to make designers better. If we understand and know how to specify your service, we are more […]

    Bill Gasque, Sr. Civil Engineer, Dowl HKM

  • SSC handled the project perfectly even went above to schedule directly with the gas company, made my job easier.

    Tony Smith, Owner, Western Underground

  • You and your staff are always responsive to our needs and make sure you clearly understand the scope of the work in advance, so there are no surprises. I really appreciate that attitude.

    Michael Rhodes, Civil Engineer, Gila River Indian Community

  • Overall a good company. Very professional in approach and execution of work. Courtesy and respect shown by all personnel, a welcome rarity in the business. Keep doing what you’re doing, and thank you.

    M. Gartner, Project Manager, Sybrant Construction

  • We have been using your company’s services for about 3 years now. I have never heard a negative comment. Bringing Curtis on board is a definite plus as far as I am concerned. He keeps me informed about the work that I have done and he is very through and dependable.

    David Cross, Utility Coordinator, MCDOT

  • Your field crew did a great job!

    Nick Nikrant, Project Manager, Builders Guild

  • Crew was courteous & helpful.

    Jayde Bullard, Project Manager, Caljet of America, LLC.

  • This is the second time working with this foreman. Will request him again. Easy to work with.

    David Willett, Aero Automatic Sprinkler Co.

  • Superb foreman…Exceptional!

    Curtis Briggs, Shea Homes

  • Great work! SSC was timely, responsive and professional. I would use them again.

    Stewart Vaghti, Project Engineer, Gannett Fleming, Inc.

  • I have always had good and quick service from SSC.

    Sally Raymer, Sundt Construction

  • Arvid was very accommodating in getting crew onsite within 2 hours of my call.

    Dennis Sime, Project Superintendent, Hunter Contracting

  • First I want to express once again how impressed I am with you and your support group. You are all “top notch.” Yes the job went well and I appreciate your help. It really made a huge difference on such a critical facility. I still can’t believe (even though I saw it with my own […]

    David McKinley, VFC-Arizona

  • Great service on short notice. Thanks!

    Richard Komzelman, Carson Construction

  • The entire SSC crew was extremely professional and flexible. All of your company’s efforts are greatly appreciated and you will be our boring subcontractor on any future projects.

    Ben Myers, Project Manager, GRG Construction

  • Your team made this challenging casing push a success.

    Michael Fossett, Project Manager, SDB Inc.

  • Extensive knowledge of the local soil conditions coupled with their proven skills has insured that every job is completed within our schedule and budget. We’ve worked with SSC for many years and always found them to more than equal our high required standards and able to complete any task.

    Brian Chavez, Chief Estimator/Project Manager, Tyers Contracting

  • I would like to thank you for your prompt response to our urgent need for your services. The men you sent did a fantastic and quick bore. We do so appreciate your company for that. Thanks!

    Patricia Riggs, Town of Gila Bend

  • Our job was especially challenging. The SSC team worked six days, around the clock and the testimony to the success of their efforts is that the general public never knew they were here. An additional thanks to SSC for their professional courtesy. In our industry, it is something I do not encounter often enough.

    Chris McCoy, Superintendent, Gilbane Building Company

  • Your project manpower’s knowledge, attitude, safety and work ethic are outstanding!

    Mike Levi, Estimator/Project Manager, Holloman Corporation