Pobihushchy’s new excavation idea already drawing interest

Vic Pobihushchy’s creative flare is burning as bright as ever.

Vic Pobihushchy stands alongside his invention

Vic Pobihushchy stands alongside his invention

Vic Pobihushchy’s creative flare is burning as bright as ever.

The 76-year-old is currently overseeing testing of a “hydro excavator separator” that he developed about five years ago and recently secured U.S. and Canadian patents for.

He’s optimistic it will revolutionize non-destructive excavating.

Traditional hydro-excavating involves injecting pressurized water into the ground, with the liquefied soil vacuumed into a holding tank.

It’s an effective way to dig in sensitive areas where cables, pipelines and other items might be buried, but produces large volumes of mucky slurry that must be hauled away and disposed of.

“It’s a big, big problem,” said Pobihushchy, who lives in Red Deer.

“It costs more to get rid of that slurry than it does to do the excavating.”

A veteran of the excavation industry who founded and operated Vic-Air Drilling Ltd., Pobihushchy set to work designing a machine that would eliminate the slurry problem. The hydro excavator separator resulted.

A vibrating screen separates the soil and water, with the liquid further cleaned in a centrifuge.

“We get absolutely clear water out of it that you can drink,” said Pobihushchy, adding that the system is quick and efficient.

It eliminate the downtime associated with slurry disposal and also allows the water to be reused in the excavation process.

“I would say it has a tremendous, tremendous potential,” said Pobihushchy, who’s been getting calls from Canada, the United States and beyond.

“There’s a big interest all over.”

Jordan Resta, a partner in Red Deer-based Providence Trucking Inc., is convinced.

His company has committed to operate and sell the hydro excavator separator.

“I’m pretty impressed with it, actually,” he said.

“The sky’s the limit with this thing.”

Pobihushchy is currently talking to manufacturers about fabricating the machine in large numbers.

That process has been hampered by the economic downturn, but Pobihushchy said he’s getting close.

He’s reluctant to talk about his investment in the technology, other than to confirm that it’s “millions of dollars.”

“I’ve been working on it for a long, long time — six years or so,” he added.

“It took us four years to get the patent.”

But the experience hasn’t dampened Pobihushchy’s inventive spirit, with a long list of other projects on his plate.

“I can’t do much else because I’m too busy with this, to be honest with you.”

Originally from Manitoba, Pobihushchy found work in the oilpatch as a teenager.

He settled in Red Deer with his wife Doris in 1961, and in the ensuing years built everything from drilling rigs to pile drivers.

His Vic-Air Drilling was active across Western Canada.

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The QEII was closed Sunday morning due to a pole fire. (Photo courtesy City of Red Deer)
UPDATE: QEII near Red Deer reopens

The QEII has been reopened after being closed due to a pole… Continue reading

Innisfail RCMP are investigating a single-vehicle crash that happened west of Bowden on March 21, 2021. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Bashaw RCMP investigate fatal collision in central Alberta

Bashaw RCMP are investigating after a fatal collision Saturday afternoon. Police were… Continue reading

A damaged unicorn statue is shown in a field outside of Delia, Alta. in this undated handout photo. It's not often police can report that a unicorn has been found, but it was the truth Saturday when RCMP said a stolen, stainless-steel statue of the mythical beast had been located in a field not far from where he'd been taken. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Mounties get their unicorn; stolen statue of mythical beast found in Alberta field

DELIA, Alta. — It’s not often police can report that a unicorn… Continue reading

Red Deer Rebels forward Ethan Rowland battles with Medicine Hat Tigers forward Brett Kemp during WHL action at the Centrium Saturday night. (Photo by ROB WALLATOR/Red Deer Rebels)
Tigers claw back, hand Rebels 11th straight loss

Tigers 5 Rebels 2 The same old issues continue to plague the… Continue reading

There were six additional deaths across Alberta reported over the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 1,926 since the beginning of the pandemic. (File photo)
Investigators from the Vancouver Police Department were in Chilliwack Saturday, collecting evidence connected to a double homicide. (file photo)
Police investigate shooting death of man outside downtown Vancouver restaurant

Vancouver police say one man was killed in what they believe was… Continue reading

Dr. E. Kwok administers a COVID-19 vaccine to a recipient at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start registering people 18 years and older for COVID-19 vaccines

VICTORIA — The British Columbia government says it’s inviting people 18 years… Continue reading

San Jose's Tomas Hertl, center, celebrates with teammates Patrick Marleau, left, and Rudolfs Blacers, right, after Hertl scored a goal during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Minnesota Wild, Friday, April 16, 2021, in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/Stacy Bengs)
Patrick Marleau set to break Gordie Howe’s games record

For Patrick Marleau, the best part about Monday night when he is… Continue reading

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a press briefing at the White House, Tuesday, April 13, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Half of U.S. adults have received at least one COVID-19 shot

WASHINGTON — Half of all adults in the U.S. have received at… Continue reading

People are shown at a COVID-19 vaccination site in Montreal, Sunday, April 18, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Federal government to send health-care workers to Ontario, Trudeau says

MONTREAL — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says federal departments and some Canadian… Continue reading

People cross a busy street in the shopping district of Flushing on Tuesday, March 30, 2021, in the Queens borough of New York. Access to the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States is growing by the day. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kathy Willens
Despite COVID-19 vaccines, Americans in D.C. not feeling celebratory — or charitable

WASHINGTON — This might make Canadians jealous of their American cousins for… Continue reading

A man pays his respects at a roadside memorial in Portapique, N.S. on Thursday, April 23, 2021. RCMP say at least 22 people are dead after a man who at one point wore a police uniform and drove a mock-up cruiser, went on a murder rampage in Portapique and several other Nova Scotia communities. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Memorial service in Nova Scotia marks one year since mass shooting started

TRURO, N.S. — A memorial service is planned for today in central… Continue reading

In this April 23, 2016, photo, David Goethel sorts cod and haddock while fishing off the coast of New Hampshire. To Goethel, cod represents his identity, his ticket to middle class life, and his link to one the country's most historic industries, a fisherman who has caught New England's most recognized fish for more than 30 years. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
‘It’s more than just a fish:’ Scientists worry cod will never come back in N.L.

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — The latest assessment of Atlantic cod stocks, whose… Continue reading

Most Read