When Is Directional Drilling for Utilities Needed?

February 9, 2022 7:56 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

You’ve probably heard the saying, “That’s just the tip of the iceberg.” This means that you can only see a small portion of something and that there’s much more below the surface. This can be said for underground utilities.

For all that you can see above ground, there’s so much more going on beneath it when it comes to underground utilities. One way to install utilities is through excavation trench digging—but this can be inefficient. Directional drilling for utilities is an alternative to trench digging.

Before you look up directional drilling contractors, read on to find out when directional drilling for utilities is needed.

What is directional drilling?

Also known as directional boring or horizontal directional drilling, directional drilling is a trench-free drilling process used to install underground utilities, including cables, conduits and pipes. It has several different applications, and there are multiple reasons why it is preferable to trench digging.

How is directional drilling different than utility trench excavation?

For a long time, the standard way of installing utilities and laying pipes underground was through trench excavation. Trench contractors would use a piece of heavy machinery like an excavator to remove the necessary amount of dirt along a given pathway in order to lay the necessary pipes or utility lines. Unfortunately, this process is involved, invasive and laborious.

Directional drilling simply involves drilling down horizontally and threading the requisite pipes or utility lines along the hole that’s been drilled. This process disturbs the environment less than trench excavation, requires less manpower and doesn’t cost as much on average as trench excavation.

What are some scenarios where directional drilling would be better than trench excavation?

Directional drilling for utilities is often a method that’s preferable to trench excavation. One of the biggest advantages of directional drilling is that it’s less disruptive to the surrounding earth. If underground utilities needed to be installed underneath a road, for instance, directional drilling would make that possible without having to tear up the road. This means that traffic wouldn’t be blocked, road permits wouldn’t need to be pulled and the road wouldn’t have to be repaired after the project is finished.

The main benefit of directional drilling is that it can avoid obstacles. For example, if there’s a body of water near the location where utilities need to be hooked up, directional drilling can lay the pipes or cables underneath it. If certain utility lines are already in place and additional utilities must be installed underneath or around those current lines, directional drilling would be a viable solution.

Is directional drilling better for the environment than trench excavation?

Yes, directional drilling is considered a low-impact method of installing utility lines and pipes. It doesn’t disturb the landscape as much as trench excavation, and it leaves most of the earth on top as is. It also requires less equipment, which means that fewer fossil fuels are burned throughout the utility installation process. It’s also generally safer than trench excavation, with a reduced risk of injuries or accidents. This means there’s a lower chance of puncturing existing utility lines, which could cause groundwater contamination or other environmental issues.

Call to schedule your directional drilling today

If you’re in the market for directional drilling contractors, call us at Es7 Comm-2 U, Inc. We have over two decades of directional drilling experience in addition to an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, so call us today.

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