Churning up contaminants spinning hollow stem augers creates costly clean up when conducting environmental investigations. On the contrary, driving the tool string with direct push drilling technology eliminates waste disposal - saving time and expense.
"The EPA representatives on site were convinced direct push was the right way to do this job. We weren't turning up soils that would have to be drummed and then disposed of," said Rob Schippert, driller, Mannik Smith Group, Michigan, regarding a recent site investigation. "We completed environmental borings to narrow in where the source was located and used 4.5-inch casing with direct push instead of augers to install monitoring wells around the building to watch for leaks in other directions."
While direct push drilling is known for redefining environmental sampling practices, the speed of sampling with direct push drilling also creates competitive advantages for geotechnical investigations.
"Using Out the End (OTE) sampling allowed us to complete nearly a year's worth of work in a week. It opened up a fantastic business advantage over others not using the method," said John Clark, general manager, EnviroTech Drilling Services in Rhode Island, who solidified additional contracts sampling a gravel bank for material analysis after completing twice as much work as other contractors in the same period of time. "Under certain soil conditions OTE and dual tube can be twice as fast as drive and wash. Twice as much data. Twice as many borings. Twice as much vertical feet in a day, putting us on par with traditional auger rigs and then some."
Variety of Applications and Configurations
Relying on a relatively small amount of vehicle weight combined with percussion energy to advance a tool string rather than drilling to make a path for the tool, a variety of environmental or geotechnical direct push drilling - even to 100 feet or more where the geology and soil conditions are appropriate - can be completed, such as:
- Obtain continuous soil cores or discrete soil samples using out-the-end sampling and dual tube sampling systems
- Drive samplers to obtain groundwater sample or vapor samples
- Insert permanent sampling implants and air sparging points
- Drive a conductivity sensor probe to map surface lithology
- Install monitoring wells
The range of direct push drill rigs have displaced traditional drilling methods as the preferred mode of collecting subsurface samples particularly in unconsolidated sediments. Direct push drill rigs can be, for example:
- mounted on two wheels and powered from an independent power source
- track-mounted to squeeze through heavy forests or easily loaded on to airplanes or small shipping containers
- disassembled into three sections and heli-ported for easy and quick assembly on the ground
Combining Technologies Pushes Profit Potential
When the power and performance of direct push are combined in one rig with rotary capabilities, drillers realize lower mobilization costs and higher utilization rates. The increased versatility of these combination rigs can create job opportunities, bring more drilling inhouse, and open new markets - boosting the bottom line. The wide-ranging benefits of compact, combination drilling rigs help companies streamline operations.
"If we know the site condition, we can bring the 6712DT and not sub out as much, which means more profit," said Don Kellar, Fulcrum Resources Environmental in California. "I don't have to go back to the site. I don't have to reschedule. It reduces my limitations, and I'm booked out consistently."
When assessing a new machine, consider the potential return on investment of a limited use rig compared with added capabilities afforded by a versatile combination rig. The long-term gains in productivity made possible combining direct push and rotary capabilities in a single drill rig is often worth the initial near-term investment.
However, a great drilling rig isn't much use without a proper tooling system. Conversely, a great tool system doesn't collect the high-quality information for which it was designed without a drill rig to advance it to depth and retrieve it safely, efficiently, and economically. When drill rigs and tooling are designed, built, and supported as one, the end result is a highly refined system benefitting field users, business owners, and project managers alike. When drill rig engineers share office and shop space with tooling engineers, both rigs and tooling are refined to the highest level to amplify productivity while also making service and support available from one source.
"Nothing ever goes smoothly in drilling, but I can pick up the phone and the support makes it go smoother. We don't need a bunch of excess tooling around, because it lasts. And the engineers always come out with a lot of different things that help us," said Xavier Green, project manager, Penecore Drilling, California, when describing the advantages of Genuine Geoprobe® tooling. Geooprobe® pioneered Direct Push Subsurface Sampling Technology in 1987 and continues to advance drilling industry applications through continuous innovation of both drill rigs and tooling. "When we use other liners we spend time with soil catchers popping out or liners sliding out in the boring. It's worth it to pay a little extra and reduce these problems."
When considering tooling, the types of manufacturing processes and testing completed by the manufacturer prove valuable when striving to achieve reliable and consistent project results. Durability also factors heavily into containing project costs, which can push your project bid ahead of the competition, especially when launching a new venture.
"Other tooling doesn't stand up to the abuse that Geoprobe® tooling does. The triple lead pipe thread is needed to last," said Michael Jordan who launched Platform Environmental Drilling and Remediation during summer 2019. "The easy-to-use and well-thought-out Geoprobe® tooling has become ‘the game'."