Laying A Pipe When There's A House Already On The Ground?
An underrated technological innovation in the areas of sanitation, directional pipe drilling allows the installation of pipelines of any length without the need of digging up earth along the planned pipeline. By means of directed drilling, an underground tunnel and pipeline can be installed without disturbing structures on the ground.
Uses for directional drilling
Although commonly thought of as infrastructure—and literally undergirding commercial, residential, or government buildings—systems of piped sanitation or utility flows do not always get laid down before the superstructures they are intended to support. Sewer systems or gas and water lines occasionally have to be installed or replaced underneath an existing building. Directional drilling techniques allow this kind of installation without a complete dig-up of the ground over and around the planned pipeline.
Whether due to poor planning or the lack of resources, occasionally buildings can be erected without adequate infrastructure, including pipelines for sewage or water delivery. In some cases, a development may not have access to the most up-to-date technology until after a substantial portion of construction is completed. Directional drilling allows corrective installation without scrapping everything that is already built. Zoning codes are brought up to date from time to time, and these updates can create the need for non-invasive replacements of underground structures such as piping.
Perhaps, the most common need for directional drilling arises from ordinary maintenance and repair concerns. A well-laid pipe can be expected to last decades, possibly even exceeding the predicted age of the building it services, but even with adequate preparation and careful installation, some wear-and-tear can be unavoidable. Transmission of corrosive materials, shifting foundations, even minor seismic activity that escapes human notice can cause small, accumulating damages to underground pipes. Eventually, that can necessitate underground repairs, without the ability to rip up the fundament to lay pipe again.
Technology of directional drilling
The greater application and versatility of directional drilling is attendant on various logistical challenges. The process of underlaying existing structures with piping for water or other materials is always useful but not always easy.
The most obvious aspect is contained in the name: directional drilling involves deliberate drilling along a specified direction. While any tunnel to be drilled or bored necessarily takes a direction, the key aspect of directional drilling is the specificity with which that direction is selected and guided. In simple terms, drilling takes place from one location—where access to an underground space is currently available—along an underground route to another location, typically where underground access could not be achieved vertically because of existing above-ground structures.
A second technical aspect of the process involves the feeding and fitting of pipe segments into the drilled tunnel. Depending on conditions of the drilled earth, this can be a relatively unimportant afterthought or else critical to the success and safety of the operation. Hard, stable material, such as concrete or solid rock may be able to hold a tunnel without additional support. But what about drilling operations taking place in loose soil or sand? Directional drilling operations can still be conducted safely, provided the drilled tunnel is promptly supported with piping.
It's accordingly necessary to use high-quality, durable pipes for directional operations. Denlock vitrified clay and PE pipes are an example of pipes used commonly in directional drilling operations.