From the magazine

Reducing costs of fluid disposal

Headquartered in the historical American boomtown of Cincinnati, Ohio, RLA Utilities is primarily involved in the installation of natural gas distribution mains and service lines. The company specialises in installations that take place within dense urban environments and has managed to greatly increase its project efficiency and bottom line with the acquisition of a Thunderstorm 1 drilling fluid reclaimer purchased via Vermeer Heartland.

HDD in the heart of Columbus

One recent project required a directional bore at a site located in the heart of downtown Columbus, Ohio. According to RLA Utilities Operations Manager Jonathan Scott Moody, the project was triangulated between Interstate 71 and Main Street, with specific requirements of the bore including the installation of almost 260 m of 40 cm diameter steel pipe.

“The Thunderstorm 1 helped increase our margins on the project by 20 per cent,” said Mr Moody.

“Margins increased due to fewer man hours needed to transport slurry to disposal sites, lower disposal fees, and less down time for the drill rig while waiting for disposal vehicles to return to the job site.”

Less slurry, more savings

Operating across the states of Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, RLA Utilities deploys its Thunderstorm 1 for any projects with pipe diameters greater than 15 cm, continued Mr Moody.

“Because we specialise in installations in an urban environment, the need for an effective “÷small footprint’ piece of equipment is essential,” he said. “The advantage that the Thunderstorm 1 gives us is that we have been able to greatly reduce our disposal costs for the slurry.”

These disposal costs represent some of the greatest costs associated with the drilling of main lines via horizontal directional drilling in urban environments, said Mr Moody.

“Too often the answers to the questions that come with removing the slurry from a project site is high prices and long travel times to find a suitable place to get rid of it. The Thunderstorm 1 has proven to be an effective tool for greatly reducing these economic factors.”

So far, RLA Utilities’ Thunderstorm 1 has proven to be very easy to use and operate, with little training required, said Mr Moody. Bearing no hesitation to recommend the machine to others, the Thunderstorm 1 has also proven to be very reliable with a seamless first year of operations, he concluded.

The Australian perspective

According to Vermeer Australia Construction Equipment Sales Manager Jeff Lawson, the Thunderstorm 1 will be available in Australia in early April.

“It is ideal for support of rigs in the D24 to D60 bracket and we anticipate the significant productivity and profit benefits in gas, water and sewer projects seen in overseas applications,” said Mr Lawson.

“Reducing mud, water and disposal costs by even a modest percentage on projects of that size means real savings for the operator,” he concluded.

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