Trenchless Plumbing Using Torpedo Technology


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What if a plumber could lay down a drain pipe usinng trenchless plumbing through your yard without digging a trench? Suddenly the work does not involve tearing up lawns and gardens, pulling up paving stones, and tearing apart decks. Trenchless plumbing (or directional boring is a subsurface technique that limits the number of trenches or eliminates the need for continuous trenches. Drain piping, water lines, and cables can be installed beneath the ground with minimal disruption. Sometimes just a starting hole and ending hole are all that is needed.

Traditional trenching

Traditionally, underground piping has been laid into a trench that has been dug by trench-digging equipment. Depending on the pipe size and the length of piping being laid, the equipment can be as simple as a trenching spade (and axe to cut roots), or the size of large earth moving equipment.


Powered equipment for all sizes of job is available.


All of these methods, however, result in a trench running from Point A to Point B; an open gash on the landscape.

Trenchless pipe laying

By contrast, trenchless pipe laying minimizes the disruption to the landscape.

Several technologies for trenchless pipe installation exist. Some, such as HammerHead Mole®

and other similar pneumatic piercing tools (displacement hammers) use a sort of impact hammer operating with extensible rod sections. These work for smaller diameter insertions.


Ditch Witch® (and other manufacturers) make directional drilling devices that use a rotating “drill” that is assisted by a water jet that forms a slurry and that assists in moving earth from the pipeline hole. Once the initial track has been excavated, it is reamed larger and the intended pipe is pulled back through the newly formed hole as shown in the


These systems can be highly sophisticated, with directional sensing and the capability to run quite large diameter sections (500mm) over extended distances (400m).

Numerous ingenious techniques have also been developed for rehabilitating existing pipes without trenching. These will be discussed in another blog post.

Limitations of trenchless technology

Trenchless pipe laying is great, but in some scenarios it is impracticable. When the distance involved becomes too great, trenchless techniques can run out of range (although insertion points can be added to extend distances). Similarly, trenchless techniques are of diminishing value when the pipe distance is too short or cost ineffective. Also, trenchless techniques are not great at navigating corners or tight bends; in such cases, straight digging is required to add elbows and so on.

When a pipe installation needs bedding material (as with a French drain), trenchless digging does not allow that material to be laid in place before the pipe is installed. When the pipe is too large for trenchless installation, or when the ground is filled with subsurface impediments such as roots, rocks, and other piping, then conventional trenching techniques are used. Finally, sometimes it’s just not possible to fit the trenchless equipment into the workspace, also necessitating trenching.

However, in many cases, trenchless solutions to piping are ideal. Master Drain can meet your trenchless piping needs to ensure cost-effective, quick, and tidy pipe laying work for many sorts of jobs.

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