This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Directional drilling the sewer

I meandered out Bunkum Road this morning to see how sewer line construction was going. At the intersection of Bunkum and Airport Road there was a road-closed-except-for-local-traffic sign, and through the light fog I could see equipment working.
The interesting action, though, was a bit further up the road, along the s-curve. The first vehicle you can see below is a directional drilling machine. I first saw one of these doing work installing fiber-optic cable at SJC. I had seen this machine a couple weeks ago but did not know if it was part of the sewer project or not.
 Directional drilling allows you to drill horizontally through the soil, controlling both depth and direction. It is a technology that I still find almost magical.

The next vehicle in the picture has the water that is a necessary lubricant for the process of pulling sewer pipe through the ground. Bore-It is a company located in Cedar Lake, and they do directional drilling for sewer mains, water mains, electric, phone, and cable.
Below is a view of the area from the west looking east.
Near the little white excavator the end of the drill pipe had been attached to some large metal object, which was then attached to the sewer pipe. As they got ready to pull the pipe, they turned on the water, and you can see it streaming out of the equipment. The hole that they had dug was not as wide as the pipe they were going to pull through the hole, so all the lubrication that they could get was needed.
I thought it rather amusing that duct tape played a role in this job.
A few minutes later and the pipe is starting to enter the hole. It was a slow process, and they were worried that they might have problems.
Most of the sewer line is not being installed with this method. Most of it is done with the old-fashioned trenching system, and the first picture shows the machine needed for that. This section got special treatment because they were going below the large culvert that Bunkum Road crosses, as well as the numerous driveways in the area.  Also, the sewer line crosses Bunkum at the east side of the s-curve.

They told me that the pipe would be 20 feet below the surface when it was under the culvert.
On the west side there is green--but not a sign of spring. Just a lot more pipe that must be installed.
Returning to town I heard pounding by the river just east of the Iroquois Valley Church. I could not see what the workers were doing because they were on the south side of the river, but sewer construction is still going on there as well. It is a big project.

Update: Here is the view from the south side of the river. It appears that the limestone bedrock is near the surface here, and that this machine is hammering away trying to make a passageway for the sewer line.
Our surface is flat, with the exception of an occasional sand hill. However, it you could see the bedrock you would find that it is highly irregular. In some places is is only a few feet from the surface, and in other places it is hundreds of feet below. That suggests that our area has a very interesting geologic history. I do not know what it is. If you do, point us to the sources.


Drilling and tapping said...

Completing bores in rock can be one of the most satisfying accomplishments of a horizontal directional drilling contractor.

Richard Demello said...

Excellent video, lots of thing to learn from. Thanks for posting the information.