Friday, November 27, 2015

Water Drilling

The first working experience in Alice Springs has been getting under way for a bit. I got started up with drilling for water bores out in the Outback/desert. My boss Murray gave me a call about a week ago that we were going to do a bore really close to Alice Springs, about 30 km away which is nothing here.
Four of us showed up to that contract, which is a bit to many for a bore actually. The ideal number is three, as you have the leading operator (Murray), an assistant for him that helps him with the actual drilling job (Timy) and another guy running around getting trenches for the water dug, preparing things and cleaning stuff up (Brody & me). The first day close to Alice was a sort of test run, not a deep bore, nothing to complicated (or so we thought) and close to Alice in case of a problem. The morning of the first day was spent with getting all the gear to the are we needed it. Two trucks, one with the rig on the back and another with all the casing used to secure a bore once it is deep enough and all the other extras like welding tools, cutting tools and the likes. Once we got there we had to wait a bit for the horses to get sorted out, due to us drilling the bore on a horse farm and them not liking the noise. After that all set up for the bore drilling, which is done at a fast rate. Put the rig up in under a minute and get all the machinery up and running and away you drill. The day was spent with a few of the above mentioned jobs and a few runs back to the yards to get some stuff we needed. By the end of the day we hadn't quite finished, so we went back and returned the next day to finish the job. After that all pack up to the yards and prepare for the next couple of days which would be spent out bush, away from pretty much anything.
In the morning of the next day we did a few final preparations and then set of about 200 km away in to the Outback with three trucks and a Ute. The tucks where the rig, the other mentioned one with all the gear as before (just a bit more), another trailer with a fully functioning container with kitchen, shower, etc. in it and a truck with sandbags and extra stuff on. Due to Brody and me not having a truck licence we had to borrow someone from the yards which I took back after getting to the target location. Once I had returned from taking him back the rig was already set up and the trucks all parked in their right places. The evening was spent eating some cooked dinner made by Timy and then sleep in the swags for an early start the next day.
Waking up we started up at six o'clock in the morning (after finding some snake tracks around the swags, but nothing of the animal) and got started just as the sun came up. The initial big hole for the casing near the top had already been done in my absence yesterday, so the drill was lowered done through that and started the deep drilling process. Quite a bit of water and foam is pumped down to the tip of the drill to cool the tip of while it is drilling. Tube after tube of steel is lowered in to place (each being six metres long) and used to press the drill down. All the while water is being blasted out of the side with gravel and dirt from the ground bellow. Samples have to be taken every while and stored away to be sent to the government late on for ground surveillance. The blasting water out of the side actually dug a really deep hole in to the road we had directed the water to run down. After hitting the depth needed that Murray estimated would deliver the most amount of water the drilling tubes and the drill were all lifted up and stored back in to place. Six on the rig for fast reloading, similar to a revolver in the old west and the rest were lowered down on to the closely parked truck. After that the casings (eight inch wide black steel tubes, which do not get hot in 40 Degrees at all, no) get lowered in and dropped down to the bottom slowly, each one being welded on to the one underneath it. Near to the bottom there are two sieve like tubes to let all the water in that can then be pumped to the top. After lowering in all the tubes we needed the top was cut to length and the space between the wall (12 inches) and the casing (8 inches) was filled up with gravel to secure the whole thing. After that it was six in the evening and we decided to finish of the next day.
Timy cooked again in the evening and we enjoyed a fairly good meal out from the big city.

The next day we spent doing a measurement on how much water could come out of the bore, concreted up the entire thing, painted it white, put up a sign with the information on it next ot the bore and packed up to leave. After hooking everything up back to the yards (which took two and a half hours) and then pack up all the next casing and extra for the next job.  

1 comment:

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