Underground Infrastructure - July 2023 - 19

MUDSCHOOL
HDDA Mud School Provides
Vital Information to Drillers
Drilling fluid has been called the life
blood of horizontal directional drilling.
Specifically, bentonite (mud) is
the core for virtually all drilling fluids.
But understanding how mud operates,
testing for proper mix and a plethora
of other considerations are often overlooked
in today's rush to get pipe or
conduit in the ground.
With that in mind, the Horizontal
Directional Drilling Association recently
held a complimentary, hands-on
Mud School to share vital information
for new drillers and provide a refresher
course for veteran operators. More than
60 people attended the May 18 event
held at the Doubletree Hotel near Love
Field in Dallas, Texas.
The day was split into two parts. The
morning session was held inside and
included a business session and safety
update. After lunch, attendees moved
to a tent-city type of set-up in the hotel
parking lot where in a rotating fashion,
three different instructors went over different
aspects of mud testing and prep.
Participants were able to use donated
supplies to perform their own testing and
receive pointers from the instructors.
" No matter if your focus is on FTTH
or large transmission pipelines, the
HDDA needs your energy and participation
to protect our industry, " said
HDDA President Don Riggs, Future
Infrastructure. " Our goal is to educate
the public, customers, municipalities and
other government agencies as to the benefits
of directional drilling.
" This Mud School is just one of several
training programs we have planned, "
Riggs added.
Among the topics covered were Mud
Testing 101, Marsh Funnel Vis Cup,
Mud Balance/Mud Weight Test and pH
Testing, and Sand Content Testing.
" Drilling mud and fluid additives
continue to be an underappreciated and
underutilized tool for the HDD process, "
explained Clint Pitman of Drilling
Mud Direct, who coordinated the
school's content. " Testing your mud,
and knowing the mud properties, is the
first step toward improving their utilization.
Just as there are different drill bits
and reamers for varying soil conditions,
so too are their different viscosities and
different additives.
Further, Pitman added that " the
HDDA's mission of training and educating
its membership is raising the
competency bar, and that's good for the
future of HDD. "
Clint Pitman, who coordinated the mud school
agenda, provides instructions to attendees.
Don White explains a common testing procedure.
UndergroundInfrastructure.com | JULY 2023 19
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Underground Infrastructure - July 2023

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Underground Infrastructure - July 2023 - 1
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