Rain, Flood, Contaminated Soils Can’t Stop Gator Drilling

By Jeff Griffin, Senior Editor | June 2013, Vol. 68, No. 6

“In spite of the challenging nature and accuracy requirements of the bores,” he explained, “Gator Boring felt that the bore was well within the capabilities of DigiTrak Eclipse locating system. Sewer grade (0.1% pitch resolution) transmitters are a standard feature and Gator Boring employed the locating feature called target steering to maintain proper separation between the three installed pipes.”

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Initially, a MGS wireline method was considered for the project. “However,” Lyons explained, “there were too many limitations for this type of guidance. The walkover system allowed the elevation to be field verified at random locations at the directional foreman's request.”

Experience in on-grade drilling and having previously worked in contaminated soils were factors that contributed to Gator’s successfully completing the Pensacola job.

“We’ve been boring to grade since 2001,” said Lyons. “At that time, tracking equipment was not very accurate or user friendly and we often used a laser level. Today we use the Eclipse F2 and F5 and have our own proprietary program that lets us check top elevation and determine what the depth and pitch reading should be to maintain grade.”

HAZMAT benefits
Gator has maintained a HAZMAT certified crew since 2008. The company is one of a few drilling contractors currently installing horizontal remediation by directional drilling.

In the early 1990s, many in the industry believed HDD-installed remediation wells offered several advantages over the vertical wells sunk through plumes of contamination to remediate underground soils, and was perceived by some to be a new market with great potential for HDD specialists. However, a boom in HDD remediation work never occurred.

“Remediation work is a small part of our business,” said Lyons. “We often work with engineers explaining what the method can and can’t do, and we do two or three jobs a year. However, once personnel have completed the 40-hour HAZMAT training certification, it makes sense for them to do the annual eight-hour training so we are prepared for jobs that require a HAZMAT crew.”

Gator Boring is a third-generation, family owned company that specializes in directional drilling primarily for water, sewer and natural gas construction. The company operates on a national basis with recent projects completed in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Georgia, Virginia and Tennessee.

The company currently operates the Universal 160x240, Universal 60x70 and a Universal 24x40; a Vermeer DD-330x500 and a Ditch Witch JT920.