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Water Resources Development

Horizontal Directional Drilling is a highly viable approach to many water supply challenges. The benefits of installing long well screens through available aquifers – even those inaccessible or non-viable for vertical wells – provides new options for water resources development.

In many applications, directional drilling can increase productivity, decrease filtration costs, replace recharge basins or create passive water supplies.

Why Directional Drilling?

Horizontal directional drilling (HDD) can be used for water supply and or groundwater recharge applications. Groundwater often flows preferentially along laterally extensive conductive zones, i.e. a widespread horizontal gravel or sand layers, or through near vertical fracture sets in low permeability bedrock. Directed Technologies Drilling, Inc. uses HDD techniques to maximize well performance in these and many other settings. The following are some example applications that demonstrate the advantages of directional drilling.

1. Source Water for Filtration/Desalinization

Many public water supplies rely on surface water or saltwater as a starting point for their finished water. A directionally drilled horizontal well aligned near a river or beach can provide a consistent quality (low solids, perhaps lower salinity) high volume water source for filtration, thereby decreasing long term operation and filtration costs. New methods developed by Ellingson-DTD can achieve similar results as a Ranney Collector Well in many of these settings, at considerable savings.

2. Groundwater Recharge

In some regions horizontal wells can replace recharge basins. This can have two benefits: no loss of water to evapotranspiration and directing recharge below or between aquitards. Horizontal infiltration wells may be used to disperse the effluent from desalination plants or environmental remediation system treatment plants. These wells can even be situated in areas, such as wetlands, where vertical drill rigs or trenchers cannot operate, due to access issues or protection of sensitive ecosystems.

3. Tapping Thin Sands and Gravels

Many aquifers are of limited thickness but extend laterally for significant distance. One directionally drilled well having hundreds of feet of screen can be drilled in the producing zone, even if the producing zone is as thin as one foot. Many tens of vertical wells would be needed to equal the productivity of one directionally drilled well in this setting.

4. Passive Water Supplies

Directionally drilled wells have been installed on hill or mountain sides to passively provide water, essentially creating a spring-type supply. This type of well can be used for public water supply, water bottling, or even something as simple as creating groundwater sourced wetlands.

The above applications highlight the many ways that directionally drilled wells can be used for water resource applications. Please contact us to discuss your water resource challenges.