Using Water to Remove Concrete

Hydrodemolition is a method to remove concrete through the use of high-pressure water jets. This method can be used for horizontal, vertical, overhead, and underwater concrete removals.

One of the main benefits of hydrodemolition over jack hammers is the elimination of the need for a secondary process to remove microcracking related damage to the concrete that is left in place.  Several other benefits are that hydrodemolition creates an irregular surface profile for better bonding of the repair material, minimal ground vibrations, and cleaning of embedded reinforcement. Environmentally, hydrodemolition is beneficial because it reduces the amount of harmful silica dust put in the air, and faster concrete removal can reduce construction time.

Although this method has its benefits, there are some negative aspects to it as well. For example, the process can consume a large amount of potable water that will later have to be treated before it can be returned to the storm drain system. Also, containing the runoff from the used water can be difficult, and in freezing temperatures, the water may create hazardous conditions.