Trenchless underdrainage

In the search for improved drain laying techniques the mole drainage principle has been developed so that drain pipes can be laid without the need for traditional trenching. This “trenchless” technique, although ideally suited to laying corrugated plastic pipes and also includes placing permeable back filling in the one operation. We have been using this method for 15 years and the results have been terrific in all conditions.

The operation is quick. There is no soil removal and so no backfilling is necessary. It can be carried out in growing crops with a minimum of damage. Permeable backfill (up to 35mm) can be applied through a hopper at a controlled depth over the pipe because the slit made by the machine is very narrow the use of permeable fill is very economical as per below picture. With traditional trenchers there are a lot of moving and wearing parts that make installation very expensive compared to the trenchless installation. As well as being more expensive it is slower and not as accurate in stoney soils at the trenchless method.

A further benefit with the technique is the subsoil fissuring caused by the blade in the surrounding subsoil which encourages water flow to the drain. This is clearly demonstrated in the picture below.

We use a Mastenbroek 25/20 Trenchless machine which is capable of laying pipe to 1.8 metres deep if required. This machine was purpose build by a company in England and the design of the machine was done by a Dutchman John Mastenbroek who was a pioneer in the drainage industry in Europe.


Grade adjustment is provided by hydraulic rams controlled automatically or manually on a double parallelogram system by the operator who using a laser or GPS. This grading is vital to the longevity of any installation as any dip in the pipe will silt up, so even grading is vital.
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