Horizontal Directional Drilling – Definition and Benefits

Horizontal directional drilling has a lot of other names. It is also known as directional boring, slant drilling, horizontal drilling and deviated drilling. Whatever is called, this type of job refers to the same thing. It is a drilling method that applies an environment-friendly, trenchless technology that makes possible the installation of pipelines without destroying existing terrain or landscape or obstacles. It is applicable beneath areas where buildings, roads, rivers and other obstacles exist. Directional boring is therefore an effective solution for the installation of utility pipelines in places where trenching is not possible.

The utility pipeline installation project starts with a directional drilling contractor drilling a pilot borehole along a pre-determined path with minimum disturbance. Once the pilot hole is completed, the contractor enlarges the hole with the use of a back reaming tool. The hole is enlarged to accommodate the size of the incoming pipeline which serves as the medium for the transport of a utility product from one point to another.

Directional Boring: vs Traditional Method

The traditional way of installing utility pipelines is done through the open cut or trenching method. This method is applicable only when the ground where utilities pass can be disturbed. The presence of obstacles such as buildings, roads, railways and buildings makes trenching impractical and the only way to get the pipes across is by drilling underground.

While directional boring method looks neater and less destructive, it is also more expensive. Its cost is up to eight times more than the traditional method.

Environmental Impact of Directional Boring

Horizontal directional drilling doesn’t have much adverse impact on the environment as it does not cause much disturbance to terrain. Although damage is still possible, it can be minimized with proper planning. One disturbance it can do is the effect caused by the size, design and weight of directional drilling machine. These factors can certainly cause damage to the area the machines are stationed.

Aside from drilling machines, another factor that can cause disturbance to a directional drilling site is the water used for boring. It will certainly overflow to the surface and cause temporary damage to the ground. These disturbances are really nothing compared to the trouble caused by the trenching method. This should justify the cost you need to spend when you choose horizontal directional drilling.

Benefits of Directional Boring

The benefits of horizontal directional drilling include:

Minimal disturbance of the project site
Minimal effect on existing rock formations
Reduced groundwater pollution
Zero damage to neighboring ecosystems
Safe to workers and the environment
Minimizes disruption to traffic and other surface activities such as golf and airport runways

Many people think that horizontal directional boring is an expensive way to install utility pipelines. This could be true if you are drilling on open ground. But if you are installing pipes or cables on a crowded or blocked space, directional boring may come cheap and wise.

If you happen to encounter situations like this on your utility pipeline installation project, you should seek the assistance of professionals. Drilling specialists like Bore the Rockies of Colorado can surely help you facilitate a safe, non-destructive horizontal drilling job.

image credit: B.C. Ministry of Transport (flickr.com)

Share with your friends
To report this post you need to login first.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *