Westminster Tower is a highly prominent landmark building situated at the junction of Albert Embankment and Lambeth Bridge. Waterloo Station (Mainline, Underground), Vauxhall Station (Mainline, Underground) and St James Park and Westminster (Underground) Stations are all situated within walking distance.

The tower was granted planning permission by Lambeth Council in 2014 for a redevelopment into a mixed use site containing modern office space, luxury apartments and penthouses. The architectural design was planned to fit with the historic site using ceramics and Portland Stone to link with the buildings downstream and to have a complex façade which was sustainable and cost efficient.

Drilcorp GES were contracted to install a Geothermal Closed Loop Borehole to heat the building. However as space is at a premium in London, access issues were a problem and costs on a previous job for waste disposal were not cost effective.

Other issues on this type of installation included bit wear, damage to pumps and slow penetration rates all of which caused project down time.

Drilcorp approached a supplier of a new mud treatment system with a difference and decided to do a field trial.

The new system comes in a range of sizes to suit every borehole, from large diameter and depths of over 200.00mtrs to your ever popular Geobore S coring systems. It is capable of treating your drilling fluids through a process of a Shale Shaker and centrifuge before producing a clean drilling fluid for re-use.

The compact system can fit on a road towable trailer and comes with its own power source, or it can be as big as an Artic truck depending on application. The system used had a fluid capacity of 3m3 which meant it was great for Geobore S or open hole drilling of up to 200.00mtrs with an 8” diameter.

The mud treatment system was easily manoeuvrable in to tight spaces. Once set up and filled with fluid the system proved extremely efficient and straight forward to operate. The shaker system placed the larger drill cuttings directly into a skip while the centrifuge was set to remove fine particulates down to a size of 5 microns. The combined cuttings were dry enough to allow disposal straight into a normal soils skip.

Scott Burt commented, “I decided to trial this new system on phase 2 of a project as the previous first stage of works proved difficult and extremely expensive for waste disposal and water delivery due to the location and nature of the works. Each borehole was constructed to hold 2 x 40mm, 200mtr Geothermal closed loops for Westminster Tower. Our work area consisted of 9 car parking bays on the other side of an archway. Our need to traverse through the archway left us with height issues when accessing or leaving the site, which was situated off a major road in central London in a small car park with sheared access.

Summary Waste disposal and program

Phase one. Completed with 25m3 drilling tanks (Russian Dolls), 3 x 18m3 of water was delivered to site and 3 x 18m3 gully suckers were used for waste removal along with 1 x 8yard skip

Phase two. Completed with 3m3 mud treatment system, utilising 1 x small water delivery and 2 x 8m3 gully suckers as well as 2 x 8yard skips.

All works were completed to the client’s satisfaction and were a success with great client feedback.

“Drilcorp will continue to work closely with the provider of this great system in order to develop it further as I feel this is the future of drilling. Our first trial was a success saving our client costs on water and waste disposal (gully suckers) as well as a considerable amount of down time for cleaning and refilling of tanks. The new system also allowed Geotechnical Exploration Services (GES) a lot more room on site to operate. I will certainly use this system again in the future as I am keen to see how it performs in different applications such as Geobore S. Without question this system will also extend the life span of drilling pumps, water swivels and drill bits costs.  These are costs which we all find hard to recover in the current busy very competitive market”.

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