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Bore-Tek Overcomes Challenges, Obstacles, Tragedy
“The material costs alone were larger than our previous year’s revenues,” recalls Thompson.
Big risk, big reward
The project owner was the St. John Water Company. The general contractor for segments of the project that included directional drilling was R. H. Moore, Murrells Inlet, SC, and engineering was provided by BP Barber & Associates, Columbia, SC. R. H. Moore hired Bore Tek for the segments to be installed by directional drilling. The 24 inch diameter, DR25 fusible PVC pipe was manufactured by Underground Solutions. Most of the route of the directionally drilled segment was along River Road, a designated scenic highway.
Environmental issues were a primary factor in selecting HDD to install the pipe along River Road.
Frank Iwanicki of BP Barber explains that most of the roadway is lined with large live oak trees, some with trunk diameters of 80 inches. All trees of trunk diameters of six inches or larger along the road are protected. In addition, numerous wetlands, marshlands and tide influenced crossings were necessary, and directional drilling was determined to be the best method to protect the environment.
Iwanicki explains that fusible PVC was selected over HDPE for the HDD portion of the project because it could be installed in a smaller diameter hole.
“Horizontal directional drilling for the installation of fusible PVC pipe enabled the project to be completed in a very short time frame, under budget, while preserving the rural character of River Road and providing a much needed alternate water supply, ” adds Iwanicki.
Not long after Bore Tek crews started work on the Johns Island project, the company’s new Ditch Witch JT8020 horizontal drilling unit arrived. The small JT1720 that had served the company since its first HDD job was sold to another contractor. With machines with pullback forces of 40,000, 70,000 and 80,000 pounds, Bore Tek was firmly positioned to service the water and sewer markets that had become the basis for its success and growth. The new machine would be immediately put to work on the Johns Island project.
“We give our equipment names,” says Thompson, “and late in the day the JT8020 arrived, Bryan Williams suggested ‘Drillzilla.’ It was our biggest, most powerful HDD unit and the play on ‘Godzilla’ was a natural.”
The following morning, Williams was killed in a traffic accident.