What is Horizontal Directional Drilling?

In recent weeks, there have been discussions regarding horizontal directional drilling (HDD). Through this period, there appears to be confusion over what exactly this means.

According to Brigham McCown, the former head of the federal government’s energy transportation safety agency, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, “while the occurrence makes for sensational media reports, the realities of the situation – which are not nearly as drastic as news accounts might suggest – are worth consideration, both for their insight into the operations of energy infrastructure developers as well as the relationship between private companies.”

Horizontal directional drilling (HDD) is a method of trenchless technology that is accepted as an industry-wide best practice for placing buried pipelines in sensitive areas. McCown explains that, “the practice offers a necessary precaution against potential effects to these sensitive areas.”

HDD is fundamentally designed to mitigate potential environmental impacts and to protect environmentally sensitive areas. This safe and efficient method has been utilized in a range of applications, spanning telecommunication cables to water pipes, due to its minimal impact on surrounding environment.