Published: August 14, 2020 | Last updated: July 5, 2023

What Does Keyholing Mean?

Keyholing is a technique of making repairs underground from the surface using long-handled tools. The method was first used in the 1960s to find ways to reduce ground surface disruption and risk to workers going underground.

The process was easy to accomplish, resulted in lesser dirt removal, could be accomplished in lesser space, and gave substantial cost savings. Keyholing today is done using methods like rotary coring and vacuum excavation.

Keyholing was previously known as small hole technology.


Trenchlesspedia Explains Keyholing

In North America, many gas distribution companies and their contractors use rotary coring and reinstatement for keyholing activities. The benefit in terms of cost compared to the open trenching of pavement is substantial.

Keyholing can be used for:

  • Installing sacrificial anode.
  • Joint repair.
  • New service installation.
  • Valve box replacement.

Keyholing can also be used for other applications such as in the telecommunication industry for shallow splice pits, test holes, and service drops, inspection holes for pipeline integrity, and test holes for directional drilling.

The method is also environmentally friendly and therefore a great choice for the trenchless industry.



small hole technology

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