The machine is being used for the first time in Leeds by Untied Utilities and Morgan Est as they upgrade around 6km of gas main in Seacroft on behalf of pipeline owner, Northern Gas Networks.
It cuts jobs down to size by doing away with the need for messy, labour intensive hand excavation.
The vacuum is housed in a specially designed truck, complete with a large hose at the back. It sucks-up soil and gravel leaving a neat and tidy excavation for engineers to work in. A jet of high-pressure air breaks the ground up before the vacuuming starts.
Morgan Est’s Richard Chadwick is managing the work in Seacroft on behalf of United Utilities, he said, not only is the method clean – it’s also green: “Once it has sucked up the spoil, it grades it ready for recycling. It also protects tree roots and means there are no unsightly piles of spoil waiting to be picked up so there’s a lot less mess while we are working.”
Tony Thompson, Area Operations Manager for United Utilities explains why the new technology sucked them in: "We are always looking to minimise disruption so this appealed immediately. It is a very accurate and precise way of working that helps to reduce the amount of time we need to spend on each job. If this trial is successful we hope to use vacuum technology on as many jobs as possible across Yorkshire.”
The gas main upgrade work, to replace 6.1km of old metal gas main with modern plastic pipe, is being carried out in a mainly residential area and is not expected to cause any disruption to road users.
It will benefit residents on Eastdean Gardens, Asket Garth, Asket Walk, Eastdean Drive, Eastdean Grove, Eastdean Rise, Kentmere Close, Eastdean Gate, North Parkway, Pigeon Core Close, Pigeon Cote Road and Ramshead Approach.
The project is due for completion at the end of the month.