Even though it is environmentally sensitive, horizontal directional drilling (HDD) has come under fire. However what fails to be discussed is exactly what the practice entails. No matter the negative messaging being pushed by anti-development activists, it is an important tool and often the best way to install new infrastructure such as energy and water pipelines as well as telecom cables below sensitive terrain.
HDD is a steerable, trenchless process of installing pipelines underground. It involves three stages; first a small hole is drilled directionally along the pre-planned path, next the hole is widened slightly to install the pipeline, and finally the pipeline is installed by pulling the pipe back through the hole.
The process helps to mitigate potential environmental impacts and to protect environmentally sensitive areas. For Mariner East 2, and particularly the 307 miles of the project in Pennsylvania, less than half an acre of wetlands require mitigation. Construction teams are required to enhance five more in wetland areas elsewhere for every square foot of those wetlands along the path. That equals more than 2 acres.
It’s also good to note that HDD is not just used for energy pipeline infrastructure, but is also used across a wide variety of infrastructure projects like telecommunication cables to water pipes.
Its minimal impact on surrounding environment proves that HDD is the best practice to install such crucial infrastructure.
Watch the video below to learn more about what horizontal directional drilling.