Company Finds Many Applications For Hydro-Excavating

April 2013, Vol. 68 No. 4
A Goliath Hydro-Vac crew at a NuStar Energy pumping and storage facility near Wolsey, SD.

Industrial cleaning
While most of Goliath Hydro-Vac’s projects involve hydro-excavation services for utility companies, sewer and water contractors and a few municipal governments, Volk acknowledged that cities have their own hydro excavators. Volk’s company also makes its hydro excavators available for industrial cleaning projects, serving a variety of large manufacturers and material processors, or as he puts it, “anywhere there are spills from belts and conveyors.”

Some of Goliath Hydro-Vac’s largest customers include Xcel Energy, a major electric and natural gas company based in Minneapolis, and Minnesota Valley Electric, a local, member-owned electric distribution cooperative.

“For the utility companies, we do a lot of rehab work, fixing cable faults, relocating poles or excavating for new poles,” Volk said. “The fiber companies co-locate with power lines, so it’s important not to damage any in-ground infrastructure when digging new utility pole holes. You couldn’t use an excavator or backhoe in that kind of setting.”

Volk said hydro-excavation technology can save the day when encountering the unexpected.

“We just had a crew down at the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse, excavating footings for a new scoreboard at the football stadium,” Volk explained. “Because of the sandy soil, we were going to have to excavate about 12-feet deep and four-feet wide in order to set the Sonotube concrete forms that would be used during the concrete pour for the scoreboard footings.”

Volk said his team excavated about four-feet deep and hit fiber optic conduit in all three holes. “With hydro-excavation, we didn’t damage the conduit and we were able to give the general contractor an opportunity to re-site the footings,” he said. “If a contractor with a backhoe had been digging those holes, it might have knocked out fiber-optic service to the whole campus.”

During a recent project for Northern Natural Gas on its Michels Pipeline near North Branch, MN, Goliath Hydro-Vac crews prepared the site of a new compressor station by exposing 16- and 20-inch gas lines that needed to be re-routed into the facility.

In another recent project, Goliath Hydro-Vac deployed its trucks to South Dakota on a three-month maintenance job for the MinnCan Pipeline, exposing gas pipelines to service and replacing valves and fittings. The 304-mile pipeline transports Canadian crude oil to refineries in the Twin Cities, and serves to strengthen Minnesota's energy future.

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