Laying new pipes, utilities, or other subterranean cables can be quite difficult in heavily populated or built-up areas. If there was not a technique that allowed you to go under existing structures, you would have to tear up a lot of roads and sidewalks! Luckily, there are many instances where you can use directional boring to go underneath structures that are already in place.
What is Directional Boring?
Directional boring, also known as horizontal directional drilling (HDD), is a technique that uses surface drilling equipment to bore underneath the ground. The technique is best used where there is solid rock or sedimentary material since there are different drill bits used depending upon the type of rock or soil.
How is Directional Boring Performed?
First, a test hole is drilled along the full path. That hole is enlarged to fit the length of cable, pipe, or conduit using a back reamer. Finally, the cable, conduit, or pipe is literally pulled through once the hole is finished. The waste water and material from the drilled hole is distributed across the land to dry or disposed of at a waste facility.
What Types of Projects Use Directional Boring?
There are many uses for directional boring. Some examples include:
- Geothermal system installation – loops have to be created underground and filled with water, connected to a heat pump. An HDD system is used to create the loops and run the piping for the geothermal system
- Watercourse crossings – it is very difficult to trench and drill across a waterway, so HDD is used to run pipeline or conduits underneath waterways
- Environmentally sensitive crossings – there are times when the ecosystem cannot be disturbed but a pipeline still has to cross the property. HDD provides a way to go underneath these areas with minimal disruption
- Filtered water source – horizontal drilling can provide access to a water source and use the soil as an initial filtration mechanism; this decreases the cost of filtration and operation
- Utilization of thin aquifers for water – there are aquifers that extend for long distances underground but are very thin. Directional boring can allow access to hundreds of feet of that water, increasing the efficiency of the drilling and the well
- Crossing roadways – often, there is just too much traffic to shut down a whole road or even multiple lanes of traffic. Directional boring allows the drilling to occur with minimal disruption to traffic
Directional boring has become the preferred manner for laying horizontal conduit or pipes underneath existing structures. The lower cost and impact to land, buildings, roads, and waterways make it very attractive. (For more information, you can contact Sureshot Directional Boring)