Here’s a local tidbit for North Albany commuters: What’s in those blue containers we see parked off North Albany Road where a contractor recently completed drilling a hole under the Willamette River and pulled through a water pipeline from the Albany side? The question came up in a chat at the Albany Senior Center this week.
Kevin Hamilton of Albany Public Works explains: “The horizontal directional drill (HDD) made use of a drilling fluid composed of water and bentonite clay (low viscosity mud). This provided lubrication for the drill; served to flush the cuttings back to the drill site to clear the drill hole; and finally served to lubricate the pipe during pull-back proceedings. The pull-back proceedings displaced the drilling mud, so the blue containers were brought on site to receive the excess mud (about 137,000 gallons).”
He says the drilling subcontractor, Brotherton Pipeline, is slowly picking the containers up, one at a time and removing them from the site. They are not in anyone’s way, so there’s no hurry.
The final leg of the pipeline, by the way, up to a reservoir off Gibson Hill, is planned in conjunction with widening North Albany Road across Thornton Lake in 2014.