Horizontal Directional Drilling Frequently Asked Questions

HDD uses include boring under waterways, roadways, sidewalks, vineyards or hillsides where typical trenching technologies would be cost prohibitive, implausible or environmentally intrusive. Today, Empire HDD can accomplish this and more, while preserving mature landscape aesthetics for landscaped properties, both residential and commercial.

Empire HDD Trenchless Technology

What is HDD?

Horizontal directional boring, also known as Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD for short) is a method which enables the installation of underground pipes, cables, conduits, fiber optics and more, by creating the necessary path to insert the needed system.

Learn more about HDD here.

What is a horizontal directional drill?

A horizontal directioal drill is a steerable trenchless machine used for installing underground pipe, conduit, or cables in a shallow arc along a bore path by using a drilling rig, with minimal impact on the surrounding area.

How far can Empire HDD drill?

Maximum lengths and hole diameters are determined by project specific geotechnical conditions. Our machines can accomplish 500' per day in good soil conditions and up to a 36" diameter tunnel.

What is horizontal drilling?

Horizontal drilling is the process of drilling straight down into the earth, usually for locating water, oil, natural gas, information or other subsurface objectives. However, drilling at an angle other than vertical can obtain information, hit targets, and stimulate reservoirs in ways that cannot be achieved with a vertical well; also known as horizontal directional drilling. In such cases, the expertise to accurately tunnel in directions and angles that depart from the vertical is a valuable ability performed by Empire HDD.

What is a horizontal directional drill?

There are many directional drilling jobs and we would welcome your interest in a career in directional drilling. Drilling work can include Directional Drill Operators, Locators and General Groundsmen to support the directional drilling operation. To see what directional drilling jobs are available at Empire HDD, follow this link: Directional Drilling Jobs

Directional Drilling Jobs

What size or type of pipe is required?

The size of pipe required depends on whether we're laying cable, fiber optics or other lines. We drill 150% the size of the pipe needed, up to 36" diameter. For example, if (4) 2" conduits are needed, we'll drill a 12" tunnel. Sizing of the pipe used also determines the rig that will be used for the job.

Do you use any type of drilling fluid?

Each drilling fluid program is job specific, designed by a Mud Engineer. Most systems consist of a bentonite base with a variety of polymers and additives added to the base system depending on the geotechnical conditions and the desired outcome.

What size drill rig is needed for a typical drilling job?

Empire HDD determines the best suited drilling rigs for the job by assessing soil conditions, pipe size and available surface space.

How does a horizontal directional drill work?

Horizontal directional drilling works by directing the drill bit in a different direction from the wellbore axis while the entire drillstring is not rotating, which is achieved by pumping drilling fluid through the mud motor. A newer type of directional drilling, horizontal drilling, perfected by Empire HDD, is used to drastically increase production.

How much space is needed for entry and exit pits?

The entry pit is the starting point of the bore and the exit pit is the end of the bore. At both the entry and exit points, there will be some surface disruption with the emergence of drilling mud and underground material. Therefore, how much room is needed to accommodate the pits is job specific.

Directional Drilling for Solar Panel Installtions

How does directional tunneling impact surface obstacles?

Tunneling allows for access to the tunneling face itself. Obstacles that can’t be processed by the machine will be dismantled and removed by hand.

How do you manage groundwater?

Groundwater can be managed by using our Mud Vacuum.

How much is directional boring?

Like anything else, the exact cost of directional boring (such as drilling cost per foot) is job specific with many variables in play, including and most important is the material we are required to drill through. You're encouraged to contact Empire HDD below.

Top 10 FAQs on HDD

Click image below for full size or here for Top 10 FAQs on HDD PDF.

Top 10 FAQs on HDD

Contact Empire HDD

Empire HDD would be happy to provide you with a quote on your project. The following information would be most helpful:

  • Type of Crossing (under a river, road, parking lot, or environmentally sensitive area)
  • Location address
  • Soil type or Core Samples
  • Length of run
  • Diameter of product to be placed
  • Preferred start date
  • Any Plans or Specs you may have

Empire HDD
2280 Gravenstein Hwy South
Sebastopol, CA 95472
(707) 757-5400 | bids@empirehdd.com