To install utilities, you don’t have to dig up your lawn or tear up the streets. Now that the trenchless technology is here, no digging is necessary. The trenchless technology is the process of tunneling below the surface for installing service lines like telecommunication cables, gas pipes or water pipes. With this method, it’s now possible to install utilities under canals and other landscapes without causing any damage to the environment. Although the trenchless technology was here from the past 50 years, thanks to the advent of advanced trenchless machines, excavation has become simpler.
Trenchless technology is environmentally and financially sound. It consists of different construction methods like horizontal auger boring, horizontal directional drilling, tunneling, micro-tunneling, and pipe jacking and ramming. It may be an expensive outlay initially, but once you have all the necessary tools and equipment, the cost of the excavation projects will recoup quickly.
Trenchless installation mostly requires you to consider the characteristics of the soil and apply a load to the surface. Over the years, lots of methods for installation utilities have emerged using the trenchless technology.
There are 5 most popular methods for utility installation. Let’s have a look at these:
1. Micro Tunneling
It’s a non-disruptive method to install pipelines by pushing the Micro tunneling Tunnel Boring Machine through the ground using the jacking system. The machine is operated via a control panel which is usually located on the surface. The pipes are installed simultaneously as the soil is removed.
2. Pipe Ramming
In this method, steel casing pipes are installed from the launch shaft to the reception shaft by using a percussion hammer that is attached to the pipe ’s end. To support the excavation, the continuous casing is pushed forward.
3. Horizontal Auger Boring
Through this method, a bore is formed from the launch to the reception pit by using a rotating cutting head. Auger flights rotating in a steel casing remove the soil from the drive shaft. Although this method of utility installation has a limited steering capability, it is best for short or straight drives.
4. Horizontal Directional Drilling
Even though drilling is involved, there isn’t much digging. It’s actually a steerable system for installing cables, conduits, and pipes in a shallow arc by using the drilling equipment from the surface. HDD is applied to a large-scale crossing and for that, a fluid-filled pilot bore is drilled and it’s later on enlarged using a large driller head to the size of the pipe.
5. Pipe Jacking
In pipe jacking, the pipes are directly installed by hydraulically pushing them from a launch shaft to form a continuous string in the ground. For this method, a few people must be inside the pipe for soil removal or to perform excavation. This excavation could also be performed manually.
Over the years, the reliability of the trenchless technology has evolved so much. Now even the applications that were unheard a decade ago are possible. Experienced contractors and engineers choose trenchless techniques for complex problems because they know it’s safe, cost-effective, and less time-consuming.