Higgins HDD Project
by Diana Barnum, Correspondent

Drilling underground isn't always quick and easy. Sometimes locations are tough to get into, especially in the middle of a pond. In these cases, horizontal directional drilling (HDD) can be a great solution.

Pumping in the proper amount of drilling fluid into the bore hole and having the proper pull back speed is important, said Ed Schwartzkopf,
Pull in10” ADPE SDR17 pipe below water level in a paper mill pond.

Set-up for the 4020 Ditch Witch.

The pipe in this project was fused every 40-feet.

A view of the path down the dike.

The exit hole where valves were placed to replace 10” concrete pipe.

Higgins Sales & Marketing, Inc.'s JT4020 Ditch Witch Horizontal Directional Drilling System which was designed and built to steer and backream through virtually any type of soil at distances to 1000 feet.

The exit hole where valves were placed to replace 10” concrete pipe.

sales representative and HDD consultant for Ditch Witch of Ohio in Columbus, and Founding Board Member of the Ohio HDD Association.

Working around mucky ground and placing pipe so that it runs at a downhill grade and didn't have to be pressurized were top issues to deal with in the Gypsum, Ohio project, just outside of Port Clinton. At the site, a solution that is used to make gypsum runs off into a holding pond. HDD contractor Higgins Sales & Marketing, Inc., of Hamilton, Ohio, contracted to install a pipe to be able to drain water off the holding pond after processing the by-product and settlement clean up, so that the remaining clean filtered water could drain into the river."

The Project

Higgins Sales & Marketing, Inc. described the work that went into the project:

We placed a 10-inch overflow drain pipe in a paper mill pond 370-foot on a 1-degree fall using SDR 17 ADPE pipe, fused together every 40-feet. The dike was entered and we bored inside the dike for 370-feet, exiting it into the pond with a 14-inch reamer. (The trick was not to cave in the dike or loose any of the water out of the dike). We pulled back the pipe and fused the section of pipe every 40-feet.

After the pipe was pulled in, a 90-degree elbow was placed to keep the end of the pipe out of the water. The other end of the pipe was taken to a pump station where a concrete pipe was replaced with a valve to a y and placed a 10-inch valve adapted to the concrete overflow to pond #2, then we re-attached it to the monitor station.Baroid Bentonite solution mud products were used on the project. Equipment used was a JT4020 Ditch Witch Horizontal Directional Drilling System. The system was designed and built to steer and backream through virtually any type of soil at distances to 1000 feet. It boasts 40,000 pounds of pullback and up to 5000 ft lb of torque with 240 rpm spindle speed. The Subsite Tracking system Plus lets the operator plan or plot every bore made.”


Schwartzkopf shared a more in-depth look at the HDD equipment targeted for this type project.The Ditch Witch JT 4020 is commonly used for larger diameter grade bores,explained Schwartzkopf. We have the Mach I and the AT, All Terrain.

The Mach I HDD system features 40,000 pounds (178 kN) of pullback, 5,000 foot pounds (6780 N•m) spindle torque, spindle speeds to 250 rpm. It has the power to pull in main-line lengths of bundled conduit and pipe and the fluid capacity to operate a mud motor.The All Terrain handles effective drilling, steering and backreaming in rock, and other soil conditions. It can bore installations up to distances of 1000 feet (300 m) at a lower cost than is possible with larger, more expensive models.*

History and Operations

Here are some replies to interview questions from Virginia Higgins, owner / operator of Higgins used Higgins Sales & Marketing, Inc.

How did your company get started?

Higgins Sales & Marketing, Inc. was incorporated April, 1991, as a Women Business Enterprise (WBE). It began as a sales & marketing firm for small to mid sized CATV companies but quickly expanded to include an underground utility construction company. And the main location of the business is in Toledo, Ohio, area.

Describe some of your most recent or current projects.

After 13 years in the business, we have established partnering relationships with other contractors and aggressively bid on projects such as building infrastructors, communication lines, sewer, water and gas.

Top industry challenges? How do you (did you) face them?

Educating the old school engineers on the benefits of using horizontal directional boring and the new HDPE pipe. Taking materials, factory reps and going over the advantages.

Bright spots in the industry you see ahead?

Communication builds are starting up again along with sewer and water work.

Describe your daily operations.

Daily operations include writing proposals, preparing materials and jobsite info for crews, & supervision of work.Describe your Safety procedures / instruction to employees / equipment / classes for continued documentation, etc.

Higgins is involved in the Ohio State Workman’s Compensation 10 step program and Drug Free Workplace Program. The supervisors hold weekly safety meetings. Staff members attend the Ohio Safety Congress, member of The Toledo Damage Prevention Council, and attend various safety programs given by Ohio HDD Association, OUPS (Ohio Utilities Protection Service), and other organizations. Supervisors have had Competent Person training. Staff attends equipment safety meetings held by the manufactures of the equipment such as Ditch Witch and Vermeer.

What are some industry resources that help you out?

The Ohio HDD Association with their Good Practices Guidelines and their seminars, meetings and workshops; they have an upcoming day-long seminar. Also our equipment suppliers and representatives are excellent resources when there is a problem.

For more information, contact
Higgins Sales & Marketing, Inc., 744 Capital Commons, Toledo, OH 43615. Call 419-867-1285; fax inquiries to 419-867-3474; or email at hsmi@accesstoledo.com.


General Phone: 419-867-1285
U*Cart Phone: 419-861-3701
Fax: 419-867-3474
24 hr. Emergency: 419-466-7044
eMAIL: hsmi@accesstoledo.com


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