Pit Launch Drilling

Get a price
with an online survey

Select your installation type and pinpoint your exact start and end locations on our interactive map to get started!

Pit Launched Drilling In urban environments

The installation of sewer laterals, deep water lines, or gas lines can pose challenges for traditional surface horizontal directional drill (HDD) rigs due to space limitations. The necessary setback for reaching the desired depth may not be available, particularly when working under existing roadways. However, a solution exists in the form of pit launch drills. These specialized HDD rigs are deployed from a pit and can drill from point to point without requiring the usual setback space.

The installation of sewer laterals, deep water lines, or gas lines can pose challenges for traditional surface horizontal directional drill (HDD) rigs due to space limitations. The necessary setback for reaching the desired depth may not be available, particularly when working under existing roadways. However, a solution exists in the form of pit launch drills. These specialized HDD rigs are deployed from a pit and can drill from point to point without requiring the usual setback space.

Features and applications

Pit launch drills find natural applications in various sectors including power, water, gas, and communications infrastructure. They can be lowered into appropriately sized pits for installation, taking into account factors like feasibility and soil conditions. However, proper shoring equipment must also be utilized when working in such excavations. While typically used for installing 4-inch pipes, pit launch drills are capable of handling larger diameter products.

These drills are designed with features such as a cutout in the front plate to accommodate the pulling of a 12-inch reamer back into the machine. However, the largest diameter product that pit launch drills are typically designed to install is a 10-inch pipe when using a 12-inch reamer.

Process and performance

Similar to surface HDD rigs, pit launch drills utilize standard locator-transmitter beacons, horizontal directional drill heads, and HDD tooling. However, the installation process with a pit launch drill is generally slower due to the necessary preparation, including pit excavation.

The performance of pit launch drills is optimized for close-quarter missions, with a maximum practical distance of around 60 meters (200 feet) attributed to shorter drill rod lengths. Slurry

management also requires a tailored approach, as the pit drill operates from the same hole where the slurry returns. Thus, having a trash pump or vac system on hand is ideal.

Flexibility and Versatility

Versatility is a key feature of pit launch drilling setups. Hydraulic power sources, such as mini excavators, mini skid steers, loader backhoes, or hydraulic power packs, can provide the necessary power if they can deliver 18 to 20 gallons per minute (gpm) of hydraulic flow at a maximum pressure of 2,500 psi. The choice of power source depends on the specific requirements of the job, with crews positioning these sources strategically on the site and running hydraulic lines down into the pit to power the drill. Additionally, there is flexibility in the placement of the mud system when working with a pit launch drill.

Types of installation