All forms of sanitary waste disposal are handled by Hydro-Vacuum. They are used to empty septage from cesspits, septic tanks, pit latrines and communal latrines, for street cleanup, for sewer clean out, and for individual septic systems  and can also be used for cleanup of contaminated soil. The trucks are used in the cleaning of sanitary sewer lift stations. Hydro-Vacuum are used a to empty portable toilets. In commercial aviation, Hydro-Vacuum are used to collect waste from airplane toilets. Hydro-Vacuum discharge these wastes to the sewer network, to a wastewatertreatment plant, in a pit for composting, or—usually illegally—into the environment.
The latter practice, called "institutionalised open defecation", is dangerous since it constitutes a health, and environmental, hazard.
Hydro-Vacuum are used in the petroleum industry, for cleaning of storage tanks and spills. They are also an important part of drilling oil and natural gas wells, as they are located at the drilling site. Hydro-Vacuum are used to remove drilling mud, drilling cuttings, cement, spills, and for removal of brine water from production tanks. They dispose of this in sump pits, treatment plants or if within safe levels may be spread out in a farmer's field.
Hydro-Vacuum are also used for exposing underground utilities. The ground is jetted with water, and the Hydro-Vacuum sucks up the muddy product. This exposes the buried utility without the possibility of damage, as would be possible if a digging machine were used (i.e. tractor backhoe, tracked or wheeled excavator, ditch witches).