HDD and the environment

Maxibor has taken steps to overcome the environmental challenges facing society. It aims to be a leader in the HDD industry and be part of the global impetus to achieve better environmental outcomes.

Maxibor has taken steps to overcome the environmental challenges facing society. It aims to be a leader in the HDD industry and be part of the global impetus to achieve better environmental outcomes.

The environment is the “E” in ESG, the acronym for Environmental, Social, and Governance. Each category of ESG has numerous subcategories. This allows each business or investor to contextualise ESG relative to their goals and values.

Maxibor is among the leaders in horizontal directional drilling (HDD). Their HDD sustainability initiatives enable asset owners and principal contractors to respond to community demand for demonstrated action around the ESG environmental principles. The company’s collaborative approach provides asset owners with the means to demonstrate evidence of sustainable infrastructure installation practices.

Climate Change

HDD is an integral part of climate change adaptation action to mitigate the increasing frequency and impact of fire, wind, flood, inundation, drought, and rain bombs.

Simultaneous disasters in multiple locations stretch the ability of infrastructure asset owners, emergency services personnel, and resources to respond to these events promptly and effectively. Having critical infrastructure underground in times of extreme and higher frequency climate change-induced events provide certainty of supply. They are safely away from the above-ground impact of extreme weather events. It also increases community safety and reduces the recovery effort.

Design and constructing long and larger diameter HDD bores are where Maxibor can add value to climate change mitigation projects. Its design expertise in long, challenging pipeline installations and the capacity of its maxi-rigs like the Gallagher 660e, American Auger 660, and Vermeer D330x500 provide a turnkey solution for infrastructure asset owners on these projects. The involvement of the company’s HDD expertise in projects at the concept and early design stages is where its innovative solutions and experience will optimise project value.

How HDD supports sustainable approaches to projects

HDD is the “go-to” solution for smaller projects. The recent floods have emphasised the importance of not creating future problems by digging up existing road pavement to run utilities across roads. This weakens the trenched section of the road and the surrounding pavement, as water can enter once the “seal” is broken.

Broader and deeper potholes are the consequence. Using HDD to underbore the road to install utilities or repair is a more sustainable asset management solution with a lower whole-of-life cost and safer roads.

HDD also provides solutions to those sectors with too much water. The mining sector has mines filling with excess water, impacting the safe operation of the mines. HDD, with its extended bore capability and powerful pumps, provides a means to access the water from another direction and divert it to an alternative location.

Similarly, where water and sewer asset owners have water storage areas full, HDD provides a relatively straightforward solution to divert excess water at high rain event times to another path or location to mitigate short-term damage to community assets.

Carbon Emissions

It is incumbent on all industries to reduce carbon emissions. Maxibor uses emissions-friendly electric rig spreads with the Gallagher HDD660e maxi-rig (The Hulk). Powerful pumps and drill mud recycling systems assist in a cleaner and lower noise delivery of HDD services. Such an HDD delivery solution is suitable for well-established metropolitan areas.

For carbon emissions to be reduced by the civil construction industry, the way we deliver projects needs to select more environmentally friendly methods. Changes in behaviour around design, construction methodologies and equipment used are required. Maxibor’s electric HDD maxi-rig spread and carbon emissions measuring model are examples of how the industry is changing its behaviour.

Air and Water Pollution and Waste Management

As HDD can undertake its work at a greater depth than open-cut methods, it is less likely to interfere with existing services. Nevertheless, it is essential to utilise modern services and location equipment to confirm drawings. Using fit-for-purpose steering equipment is also necessary when completing the pilot hole for each bore. All this helps to avoid the pollution of the local water supply and surrounding environment.

Good design in the planning stage with quality geotechnical information and experienced HDD drillers also reduce the underground environmental risks. Preparing and implementing a drill mud management plan will help ensure that the fluid drill materials used are appropriate for the local environment.

Improved drill fluid technology is providing products being better able to address bore hole challenges. Ingredients to address bacterial odour from the drilling mud and unstable boreholes, such as those encountered in water-charged sands, reduce the frequency and extent of unwanted outcomes from HDD projects.

Improved drill fluid disposal practices also reduce the waste that must be transported from the site. Products are now available that solidify the water-based drill fluids on site. This reduces the quantity of waste required that needs disposal. It also minimises vehicle movements to a licenced facility.


HDD benefits the environment, especially compared to traditional open-cut trenching and excavation methods. A smaller footprint and the installation of underground pipelines underground with minimal disturbance of the above and surrounding landscape avoids impact on sensitive areas that need to be preserved for environmental or cultural reasons.

For more information, visit www.maxibor.com.au

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