Trenchless Technology

JAN 2019

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24 T R E N C H L E S S T EC H N O LO GY JA N UA RY 2019 D E S P I T E B E I N G T H O R O U G H LY R E S E A R C H E D A N D P R E S E N T E D A S S A F E, contractors in the underground con- struction world still face hurdles and questions when it comes to disposing of their waste from underground bor- ing projects. This fact has prompted manufactur- ers and suppliers to design and devel - op new and improved options when it comes to slurry handling . It has also prompted some contractors – with the financial wherewithal – to find solu- tions of their own. On the manufacturing side, the en- gineers and salespeople do the yeo - man's job teaching the benefits of mud recycling systems, shakers, cen- trifuges and the like. But these larger mobile facilities – while necessary on larger HDD projects and all microtun- neling work – require almost a day for setup, and might not be suitable for smaller projects. Some companies, like Vermeer with its new Mud Hub slurry solidifica- tion system and MetaFlo Technologies with its liquid mixing systems and so - lidification reagents, have found ways to bring smaller systems to jobsites or at least a centralized solidification location. Other manufacturers have designed mud recycling systems to be trailer mounted, easily transported and able to fit in more constrained metropolitan rights of way. All of this is to make sure contractors have what they need to be successful on projects. Adam Bates, product manager at Vermeer, notes that in the last de- cade more and more contractors have changed the way they work to include the use of bentonite, as well as mud recycling systems. " It has been interesting , because 10 years ago contractors were still learn- ing what the benefits of drilling with bentonite were. Not that bentonite was not out or utilized, but there were still people shying away from it ," he says. " The use of bentonite has gone mainstream. Contractors went from not using it at all to learning that there are challenges associated with disposing of drilling fluid mixed with bentonite." It is the cost of disposal that is one of the reasons many contractors have purchased mud recycling and fluid management systems. This is espe- cially true on the larger projects us- ing 100,000 lbs and up HDD rigs. Now that same mentality is shifting to con- tractors operating rigs in the smaller 50,000 lbs and below categories who are struggling with mud disposal . Contractors have watched disposal fees skyrocket and locations that will accept liquid waste are hard to find, especially in metropolitan areas where the smaller utility construction takes place. Changing Times " In the last three to five years there has been a greater focus by contrac- tors looking to recycle or reclaim their drilling fluids onsite. From an Ameri- can Augers standpoint that has been a fairly common practice because of the nature of the larger HDD systems and fluid capacities of our equipment ," says Richard Levings, American Au- gers' director of product development . " That has now expanded down to the smaller 100,000 lb class on down even to the 40,000 and 50,000 lb class rigs. Many, many, more contractors are us- ing reclaiming systems today." Levings, with decades in the indus- try, has watched as the issues associ- ated with mud disposal went from the No. 1 issue on a contractor 's plate to No. 2 as workforce issues began to dominate the headlines. The problem is, he says, that the mud disposal is- sues never went away, rather contrac- tors adapted to the environment . But those workforce issues are also tied to

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