Trenchless Technology

JAN 2019

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W W W.T R E N C H L E S S T EC H N O LO GY.C O M 25 mud disposal issues because, as the fees for disposal have increased and locations for disposal have dimin- ished, contractors have had to look for new employees or sub -contracted to handle disposal . In some instances, a trip to a liquid waste disposal facility with a loaded vacuum excavation unit can take one work shift . " From a contractor 's standpoint , the level of investment that they have had to make in the last 10 years in order to handle directional drilling fluid has been significant ," Levings says. " Everything has changed for them. It has certainly had an impact on their margins." According to Barry Sorteberg , vice president of Clean Slurry Technol - ogy, there was a time when the slurry could be spread onsite and in cases where it could not , the slurry could easily be sucked into a 5,000-gal truck and taken to a dump. " Most contractors are running sol - ids control equipment , and the dis- posal facilities don't want to see any- thing with more than 15 to 20 percent liquids. If they don't meet that criteria the disposal facility will not accept the waste coming in," Sorteberg says. " Even when the contractor finds a fa- cility to accept this waste, they charge by the pound. Water weighs 8.33 lbs. per gallon and contractors are paying a high disposal fee for the water left in the solids." Having a good separation plant with centrifuges and polymer (lime, fly ash, etc.) additive systems can dewater the slurry to remove anything that is 74 micron and larger. This gives them a dry solid out of the centrifuge that can be scooped up and disposed of or used onsite and the water can be run to the sewers. As an example, Levings says that without a recycling system a contrac- tor might use 150,000 gal of fluid, hauling off in 3,000 gal capacity vac- uum trucks as needed either on their own or hiring a company to handle the removal . Using a recycling system, they can keep that to about 30,000 gal of fluid. That is 40 less trips to the dump and 120,000 gal of water the contractor did not have to buy. Dis- posal fees, by his estimate are in the $400 to $500 range. Increased Costs Gene Woodbridge, CEO of Ontario, Canada-based Earth Boring Co. Ltd., has witnessed the increased difficul - ties first-hand. Many consider Ontar- io, in particular the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), as one of the most strin- gent in North America when it comes to mud disposal particularly because of the classification of the waste and available facilities that accept it . And in early 2018, the province reclassi- fied its regulations that pertain to vac- uum excavators meaning that many of the trucks on the road can no longer haul the same amount of waste. " There was a time, 10 years ago, where we could dump a truck for about $30 to $40 a load. Today that cost can be $120 to $300 a load," Woodbridge says. " The more convenient the site, the higher the fee. Nothing is under that $120 mark now. This does not factor increased fuel and other fees." Earth Boring Co. has moved to not only using mud recycling systems on projects with its 45,000 lb and larger HDD rigs, but it has also started on- site solidification. Woodbridge says that with the addition of centrifuges, they can reuse the water or dump it straight to the sewer. All of the spoils, both from their HDD and microtun- neling work, are dry enough to dis- pose of at a regular disposal facility. It is on the smaller side – under 45,000 lbs – that the company opts to vacuum the drilling fluid and has to cope with the disposal issues. On those projects, the company uses vac- uum excavators to suck up the waste and any inadvertent returns. What 's the Fuss? As Drilling Fluid and Slurry Handling Costs Increase Contractors Find New Solutions to Help the Bottom Line By Mike Kezdi

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