Crossing Arkansas River for Water supply in Oklahoma

In September 2022, Brownline’s gyro steering services were used to install a pipeline under Arkansas River near Ponca City, OK. This 36-inch water line will be an important asset to the region’s water supply in the future.

The Kaw Lake Water Supply Project is a major utilities project that has been in the works for some years in northern Oklahoma. About 110 km / 70 mi of pipeline will be installed to transport water from Kaw Lake Reservoir to a treatment plant in the city of Enid, OK. This pipeline crossed the winding Arkansas River several times, including near Ponca City. For this crossing, Brownline USA was called in.

Pressure readings

The horizontal directional drilling was carried out by Global Underground Corp. The drilling had a total length of 760 m / 2,494 ft, and more than 300 m / 1,000 ft of this was under the Arkansas River. A minimum depth of 18 m / 55 ft under the river had to be maintained, and downhole pressures had to be carefully monitored as well. Brownline’s Pressure-While-Drilling (PWD) service continuously logged the annular pressure. Keeping an eye on these pressure readings helped avoid any inadvertent returns. This was of major importance considering the sensitive nature of the environment. A nest of bald eagles next to the drill site kept a watchful eye on the operation and reminded all involved to minimize the footprint of the pipeline installation.

The drill climbed the opposing river shore for a while until the exit point was reached, 43 ft / 13 m in altitude above the entry point. The accuracy of our Drillguide Gyro Steering Tool guaranteed that the drill would maintain the planned trajectory for the entire length of the drill path.

The water supply project should be completed by early 2024. The region will then be able to rely on an improved water supply. The effects of seasonal droughts on the water supply will then be decreased.

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