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What is Horizontal Directional Drilling?

Horizontal directional drilling is not a new technology. It has been used for many years, mainly for industrial purposes. However, in recent years, new services and utilities become available on a regular basis, and that means that more people see HDD company vans and that makes them ask: What is horizontal directional drilling?

Introducing Anta Horizontal Directional Drilling


Anta Plumbing has a division devoted to Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD). This basic trenching technology involves drilling utilities into the earth along a planned pathway, thus creating a sub-surface horizontal bore through which providers can run conduits to  consumers.

Underground bores can be used to deliver conduits for:

  • water
  • electricity
  • oil or gas
  • internet
  • cable TV
  • and more.

It can sometimes take multiple passes of the drilling apparatus for the bore to reach the appropriate size. Finally, the pipe or conduit can be pulled into the underground tunnel and through to the other side, where connections can be made to the appropriate utilities.

Why Horizontal Directional Drilling?

Everyone has seen plumbers dig trenches to install underground utilities, but that is not always practical. When trenching is not the most practical option, horizontal directional drilling offers the perfect alternative.

Horizontal directional drilling is the most practical and economical option for:

  • installing utilities under busy roadways and interstate highways, when traffic interruptions are impractical;
  • installing utilities that have to cross beneath rivers and lakes;
  • installing conduits or pipes in bedrock.

Horizontal directional drilling can be done using either an auger or a drill. The choice will depend on the material through which the bore has to pass.

In addition to a drill, horizontal directional drilling may also need support equipment such as mixers, mud pumps and mud reclaimers. The extent of the drilling activity will determine how much equipment and how big a crew the process requires.

Horizontal Directional Drilling: A 4-step Process

The Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) process involves three steps that are executed by an experienced, licensed crew from Anta Horizontal Directional Drilling.

Step #1:  Entrance pit and receiving hole


Workers will first dig a relatively small hole at the start of the line that’s being drilled, and a receiving hole at the other end.

Step #2:  Drilling the pilot bore


Once the entrance and receiving holes are in place, the crew will drill a pilot bore along the planned pathway.

Step #3:  Reaming


A back reamer is attached to the pilot hole, which, when pulled through the pilot hole, enlarges it. Back reamers are available in various sizes, and the Horizontal Directional Drilling team will choose the back reamer based on the size of the conduit that will be pulled through.

Anta HDD can further increase the reamer’s diameter to create custom sizes that will provide the ideal fit for the conduit or pipe.

Step #4: Inserting the pipe or conduit


Finally, the conduit or pipe is attached to the drill stem and pulled through the bore. Connections are made at either side at the entrance pit and receiving hole.

Horizontal Directional Drilling is a good option for a variety of applications, including commercial and residential pipe retrofitting. Speak to Anta Horizontal Directional Drilling today to find out how it can be used for your purposes.

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