by Diana Barnum, Correspondent
Pull in10” ADPE SDR17 pipe below water level in a paper mill
Drilling underground isn’t always quick and easy. Sometimes locations
are tough to get into, especially in the middle of a pond. In these cases,
horizontal directional drilling (HDD) can be a great solution.
in the proper amount of drilling fluid into the bore hole and having the
proper pull back speed is important,” said Ed Schwartzkopf, sales
representative and HDD consultant for Ditch Witch of Ohio in Columbus, and
Founding Board Member of the Ohio HDD Association.
Working around mucky
ground and placing pipe so that it runs at a downhill grade and didn’t
have to be pressurized were top issues to deal with in the Gypsum, Ohio
project, just outside of Port Clinton. At the site, a solution that is
used to make gypsum runs off into a holding pond. HDD contractor Higgins
Sales & Marketing, Inc., of Hamilton, Ohio, contracted to install a
pipe to be able to drain water off the holding pond after processing the
by-product and settlement clean up, so that the remaining clean filtered
water could drain into the river.
Set-up for the 4020 Ditch Witch.
Higgins Sales & Marketing, Inc. described
the work that went into the project:
“We placed a 10-inch overflow
drain pipe in a paper mill pond 370-foot on a 1-degree fall using SDR 17
ADPE pipe, fused together every 40-feet. The dike was entered and we bored
inside the dike for 370-feet, exiting it into the pond with a 14-inch
reamer. (The trick was not to cave in the dike or loose any of the water
out of the dike). We pulled back the pipe and fused the section of pipe
After the pipe was pulled in, a 90-degree elbow was
placed to keep the end of the pipe out of the water. The other end of the
pipe was taken to a pump station where a concrete pipe was replaced with a
valve to a y and placed a 10-inch valve adapted to the concrete overflow
to pond #2, then we re-attached it to the monitor station.
Bentonite solution mud products were used on the project. Equipment used
was a JT4020 Ditch Witch Horizontal Directional Drilling System. The
system was designed and built to steer and backream through virtually any
type of soil at distances to 1000 feet. It boasts 40,000 pounds of
pullback and up to 5000 ft lb of torque with 240 rpm spindle speed. The
Subsite Tracking system Plus lets the operator plan or plot every bore
The pipe in this project was fused every 40-feet.
Schwartzkopf shared a more in-depth look at the
HDD equipment targeted for this type project.
“The Ditch Witch JT 4020
is commonly used for larger diameter grade bores,” explained Schwartzkopf.
“We have the Mach I and the AT, All Terrain.”
The Mach I HDD system
features 40,000 pounds (178 kN) of pullback, 5,000 foot pounds (6780 N•m)
spindle torque, spindle speeds to 250 rpm. It has the power to pull in
main-line lengths of bundled conduit and pipe and the fluid capacity to
operate a mud motor.
The All Terrain handles effective drilling,
steering and backreaming in rock, and other soil conditions. It can bore
installations up to distances of 1000 feet (300 m) at a lower cost than is
possible with larger, more expensive models.*
Here are some replies to interview questions from
Virginia Higgins, owner / operator of Higgins used Higgins Sales &
A view of the path down the dike.
How did your company get started?
Higgins Sales & Marketing,
Inc. was incorporated April, 1991, as a Women Business Enterprise (WBE).
It began as a sales & marketing firm for small to mid sized CATV
companies but quickly expanded to include an underground utility
construction company. And the main location of the business is in Toledo,
Describe some of your most recent or current
After 13 years in the business, we have established
partnering relationships with other contractors and aggressively bid on
projects such as building infrastructors, communication lines, sewer,
water and gas.
Top industry challenges? How do you (did you) face
Educating the “old school” engineers on the benefits of using
horizontal directional boring and the “new” HDPE pipe. Taking materials,
factory reps and going over the advantages.
Bright spots in the
industry you see ahead?
Communication builds are starting up again
along with sewer and water work.
The exit hole where valves were placed to replace 10” concrete
Describe your daily operations.
Daily operations include writing
proposals, preparing materials and jobsite info for crews, &
supervision of work.
Describe your Safety procedures / instruction to
employees / equipment / classes for continued documentation,
Higgins is involved in the Ohio State Workman’s Compensation 10
step program and Drug Free Workplace Program. The supervisors hold weekly
safety meetings. Staff members attend the Ohio Safety Congress, member of
The Toledo Damage Prevention Council, and attend various safety programs
given by Ohio HDD Association, OUPS (Ohio Utilities Protection Service),
and other organizations. Supervisors have had Competent Person training.
Staff attends equipment safety meetings held by the manufactures of the
equipment such as Ditch Witch and Vermeer.
Higgins Sales & Marketing, Inc.'s JT4020 Ditch Witch Horizontal
Directional Drilling System which was designed and built to steer and
backream through virtually any type of soil at distances to 1000
What are some industry resources that help you out?
The Ohio HDD
Association with their Good Practices Guidelines and their seminars,
meetings and workshops; they have an upcoming day-long seminar. Also our
equipment suppliers and representatives are excellent resources when there
is a problem.
The pipe after fusion is laid out waiting to be pulled in.
For more information, contact Higgins Sales & Marketing, Inc., 744
Capital Commons, Toledo, OH 43615. Call 419-867-1285; fax inquiries to
419-867-3474; or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn about Ditch
Witch equipment, visit their site at www.ditchwitch.com (* Ditch Witch
spec info is from this site).