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    Use of High-Pressure Waterjets in Utility Industry Applications

    Published: 01 January 1979

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    During the past several years, waterjets with pressures up to 408 MPa have become a reliable tool for industry and have been used for a variety of factory applications. In addition, waterjets have been tested for rock cutting in mining and tunnel applications. The utility industries do a considerable amount of work that requires excavation in rock and concrete. The potential of using high-pressure waterjets to meet their field needs has been considered. To date, the telephone, electrical power, and gas industries have conducted studies on the use of high-pressure waterjets. This paper contains descriptions of the various applications of waterjets in the utility industry, descriptions of the appropriate equipment and cutting techniques, discussions of some possible systems and their operating parameters, and an economic analysis of waterjet methods for trenching and pole-hole drilling.

    A study was conducted to examine the use of waterjets in utility industry applications. The study was a three-phase program. In the first phase, the possible applications and their significance to utility company operations were examined. In the second phase, a strategy for cutting rock and concrete with waterjets as well as a conceptual system design was developed. Various rock types were tested, and rates were predicted for two specific applications: trenching and pole-hole drilling. In the third phase an economic analysis of the cost of using waterjet methods for trenching and pole-hole drilling was performed and costs were compared with current methods on a per-hole or per-foot of trench basis. In addition, the advantages and disadvantages of waterjet methods on a system basis were compared with those of existing methods.

    The study has demonstrated that there is a wide variety of applications for high-pressure waterjets in the utility industry. The study further shows that waterjet devices are both technically and economically feasible. The predicted rates and the costs indicate that, in rock, the waterjet system is better than current methods.

    A detailed overview of this study as well as the results are presented in this paper.


    high-pressure waterjets, utility applications, trenching, pole-hole drilling, deep-kerfing, hard rock, erosion

    Author Information:

    Huszarik, FA
    Manager, Construction Methods, Bell-Northern Research, Ottawa,

    Reichman, JM
    Senior research scientist, Flow Industries, Inc., Kent, Wash.

    Cheung, JB
    Senior research scientist, Flow Industries, Inc., Kent, Wash.

    Committee/Subcommittee: G02.10

    DOI: 10.1520/STP35820S