September 2016, Vol. 71 No. 9


Spartan Installs 54-Inch HDPE Pipe Via HDD In Miami Beach

By Jeff Griffin, Senior Editor

A project that involved installing 4,300 feet of 54-inch diameter HDPE pipe in the busy South Beach area of Miami Beach, FL, recently was completed by Spartan Directional LLC. The segment will provide an alternate backup sewer release for South Beach.
It is believed to be the longest installation by horizontal directional drilling (HDD) of HDPE pipe in a diameter this large, said Boyd Simon, P.E., Spartan manager. The project owner was the Miami Beach Public Works Department and the primary contractor was David Mancini & Sons (DMSI).

Spartan subcontracted installation of the 4,300-foot section from Hardrock Directional Drilling. Spartan Owner/Supervisor Barry Nailing, was in charge of HDD operations.

The installation was made with two HDD shots: the first 3,000 feet, the second 1,300 feet. Both were made with a 1-million-pound pullback Vermeer D1000x900 drill rig. Simon said two shots were made because of the radius of curvature in the running line of the project.

“A curve of this magnitude would have highly increased the level of difficulty,” Simon explained. “Installing 3,000 feet of 54-inch pipe and having to open a 6-foot diameter hole was enough of a challenge.

“Microtunneling is widely used in South Florida for this type of project,” he continued. “While microtunneling does have some directional capabilities, HDD offers much greater directional control, and eliminated the need for large, deep entry and exit pits.” The HDD rig is set up on the surface and can directionally tunnel not only horizontally, but also vertically to reach the required underground depth.

“City officials were willing to try this alternate installation technique and save costs with HDD. This installation was the first of its kind in the area,” Simon added.

Tight spaces and traffic

The route of the installation was under Euclid and Washington avenues between 5th and 22nd streets. Soil sampling was conducted prior to launching the first bore.

“Work areas were extremely tight, so traffic control was important,” Simon said. “Not many businesses were affected but the work drew attention of passersby on sidewalks who stopped to watch, and many asked what we were doing. Some complained about the noise.  A sound barrier wall was built to help eliminate the noise.”

The Vermeer D1000x900 is powered by twin 800-horsepower Cat C-27 diesel engines. In addition to 1 million pounds of pullback, the rig develops maximum spindle torque of 92,000 foot pounds.

For the first bore the drill rig was set up on a two-lane street. “This was the best area to set up,” Simon said. “Miami Beach has a lot of traffic and DMSI did a great job with all traffic control. This project was during spring break which slowed operations due to both vehicle and foot traffic. Vacationers were constantly stopping and asking questions about what we were doing.”

The pilot hole proceeded downward to 40 feet, leveled out and maintained the 40-foot depth to the exit point. Drill pipe was 6 5/8-inch, full hole, double shoulder with a 12 3/4-inch bit. There were numerous existing utilities near the bore path.

“DMSI identified their locations and at times had to relocate some of these lines,” Simon said. “DMSI did a great job with this task and did not slow down our production.”

Simon said the ground under Miami Beach originally was a mangrove swamp which is very soft ground, making it difficult to steer the pilot bore. Under this soft material was mostly fine limestone which was good ground to steer and ream.

An Adtech mud motor was used for the pilot hole for both bores. The guidance system was a Tensteer high-resolution steering tool with TrueGyde softwar. Danny Dodgen, owner of Standard Steering LLC, was HDD surveyor and guidance system operator.

“We used a mud pump and cleaning system on both the entry and exit ends of the bore,” said Simon. “On the entry side, equipment was an American Auger P-750 mud pump and American Auger P-750 cleaning system; on the exit end was a Tulsa Rig Iron TT-660 mud pump and American Auger MCS 1000 cleaning system. We had a third-party mud engineer, Robert Thomason from DCS Fluid Solutions LP, for the entire project.”

Lack of space in the work area, and vehicle and foot traffic made swapping out drill pipe trailers time consuming.

“We could get only one pipe trailer on location at a time,” Simon explained. “When a pipe trailer needed to be moved, we had to stop the heavy traffic to the beach and back the trailer into the location.”

Escape foiled

An unexpected complication occurred when fluid returns began escaping through a hole made to take soil samples.
“We had to stop pilot hole activities and the hole had to be re-grouted,” said Simon. “The delay cost one day’s drilling time.” Still, the 3,000-foot pilot bore was completed in seven work days.

The logistics for DMSI for bringing pipe to the work area and fusing it for the pull in was complicated by tight space. “DMSI prepared and handled all pipe for an ISCO-certified welder to fuse the pipe in the middle of the two-lane street with an ISCO McElroy fusion machine,” Simon said. “There were two sections of pipe, each approximately 1,500 long, right down the middle of the two-lane road. It took time to line up this large-diameter pipe inside the fusing machine.

“One of the highlights of this project was reaming the pilot hole to 72 inches,” Simon said. “That is a large hole!”

Five passes were made with Horizontal Technology’s Jumbo Viper Rockreamers, starting with 30 inches, then to 42, 54, 66 and 72 inches on the final pass.

“We had one mid-fuse during pull back,” said Simon. “We had pulled in 1,800 feet of pipe and our main side-entry sub cracked. We had to shut down, and replace it. We removed a cracked sub and installed the new sub. It took about 36 hours to transport and reinstall the new sub and we resumed pulling the next morning.”

Obviously it required plenty of muscle to move the string of 54-inch pipe.

“It took 60,000 pounds of pull to get pipe moving on top of the ground,” said Simon, “and 100,000 psi to get the pipe in the entry pit. Once in the hole we pulled at 100,000 pounds. It took 160,000 pounds part.”

Two days after all the pipe was in the ground, Spartan was asked to move the pipe forward to help disconnect it from the pulling head.

“Moving the pipe took only 190,000 pounds of pull,” Simon said. “Only having this much of pullback pounds was a great indication of how well we prepared this six-foot diameter hole.”

Curving bore

The second bore was only 1,300 feet long at the same 40-foot depth.

“This drill had the curve,” Simon said. “Due to the limited amount of working area and the fact we were supposed to enter the ground in front of the world-famous Joe’s Stone Crab, we had to enter the ground and ream from the exit side.

“Once we completed preparing the hole up to 6-foot diameter, we moved the rig and completed pullback operations. Pullback had to be done in one lane of a busy four-lane Miami Beach street. Therefore, this busy street had to get shut down. The city of Miami only allowed the street to be closed from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m., so that’s when the pullback was done.”

Based in the Lafayette/Broussard area of Louisiana, Spartan Directional specializes in HDD for extended crossings of large-diameter pipe. Spartan offers turnkey services from design through successful completion of construction. Services include specialized drilling services for pipelines, water and sewer, and conduits beneath water and congested areas. Spartan customers include municipalities, oil and gas, communications (including fiber optics) and water and sewer service providers.

The roots of utility contractor David Mancini & Sons go back more than 50 years. In that time the Miami Beach based contractor has built a solid reputation for constructing quality water and sewer infrastructure for an impressive list of municipal clients.

The Miami Beach sanitary sewer system contains 152 miles of sanitary pipes, 2,750 sewer manholes and 23 sewer pump stations. It is responsible for the efficient collection and conveyance of approximately 26 million gallons of sewage per day, including the wastewater from four neighborhood cities in the north.

The city’s water infrastructure includes 180 miles of piping, 23,000 water valves, 750 fire lines, 1,000 fire hydrants, 86 water crossings, four water storage tanks (3 million gallons each), five water pump stations and 12,500 water meters.

Spartan Directional, (337) 837-4433,
ISCO Industries, (800) 345-4726,
McElroy Manufacturing, (918) 836-8611,
American Augers, (800) 324-4930,
Vermeer Corp., (888) 837-6337,
Tulsa Rig Iron, (918) 321-3330,
Horizontal Technology Inc., (713) 774-5594,
Tensteer LLC, (512) 670-0447,

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