Seeing Underground with Hydro Excavation

National Hydro-Excavation Services specializes in locating and exposing utilities in advance of construction projects and emergency repair. The Omaha-based company can also handle line-jetting, tank cleaning, spill remediation and more.
By Tom Bryan | February 11, 2021

While ethanol producers have, for years, used hydroblasting contractors, Omaha-based National Hydro-Excavation Services is now applying the power of water to other critical projects, from precision excavation to emergency cleanup.   

National Hydro can and does assist ethanol plants with jobs like tank cleaning and spill remediation, but its specialty is hydro excavation—precision digging with water to locate and expose on-site utilities. “Our main role is usually to support construction or repair,” says Sam Fenderson, who manages the operation. “We can locate underground infrastructure such as communication lines or high-voltage power lines without the customer having to worry about damaging those utilities.”  

In addition to excavation, National Hydro offers dry vac services, line-jetting and more. “We can do it all with one truck,” Fenderson says. “In fact, we could go from hydro-excavating a utility to cleaning up spilled corn to power washing equipment in the same visit.”

The company takes pride in being responsive. “We’ve had situations where, for example, a water line has burst and we’re called out to excavate immediately,” he says. “We’re typically able to complete those digs before the contractor arrives, so when they do, they know exactly where the problem is.”

National Hydro excavates with a high-pressure sprayer that cuts through the ground at 4,000 psi, while a corrugated hose, mounted to a boom and connected to a powerful vacuum, sucks the slurry out of the hole and into the truck’s debris tank.

The size of each dig varies—some holes are narrow, and others are wider and tiered—but most are a story deep. “It’s based on whatever needs to be seen,” Fenderson says. “When contractors can visually see the depth of utilities, and how they run, their work can be done safely and efficiently.” 

National Hydro typically serves producers within 150 miles of Omaha. “There are several ethanol plants within our range and we’re happy to support them,” Fenderson says. “If they need something done—excavating, trenching, debris removal or anything else—we’re here to help.”

For more information on the company’s services, visit