Contractor Finds Success Embracing Island’s Pristine Environment

September 2011, Vol. 66 No. 9

“This project is somewhat unique in that it is being completed using private monies,” Farrissey explains. “The people in the neighborhood are doing this out of concerns for preserving the environment. We completed a privately funded water main improvement upgrade project in the same area a few years ago. They want to make sure the infrastructure supporting their basic services is sound, solid and properly installed. While this presented some initial challenges for us, there are now very few island residents who aren’t fervent supporters of horizontal directional drilling (HDD). Since we started drilling here 11 years ago, I would say that well over 75 percent of our installs are completed using HDD.”

Farrissey is using a Vermeer D24x40 Series II Navigator drill to install a three-inch HDPE green-striped color-coded pipe -- the color Farrissey has selected to represent sewer.

“Because we are also the locators and installers from Endstar, Verizon and Comcast, we do the majority of the installs on the island and established a color-coding system for the various services,” Farrissey explains. “We are a firm believer in color coding for identification purposes and a huge supporter of a national color coding standard and methodology.”

Sand: good for clamming; bad for drilling
Having broken ground on the project, Farrissey is using a vacuum excavator to pothole the bore path. “Potholing is a necessary component for navigating through the often challenging and deceiving density of sand that comprises the vast majority of the island’s terrain. While most people tend to think of sand as soft and easy to drill through, the reality is that sand actually grinds down tooling at a far more aggressive rate than typical topsoil or clay.”

“We use a standard bit with hard facing to help extend the life of the tooling,” Farrissey explains. “From experience we know that the body supporting that hard face will just disappear. It’s a highly unusual reaction, so we’ve engaged several engineers and technicians to witness this firsthand so they can better prepare other contractors for what they will likely encounter when drilling in these conditions. Every consultant who experiences this is very much amazed by the wear that sand causes. Sand is something we have dealt with for years and have learned techniques that are most effective in confronting it.”

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