Dragon Drilling is one of the UK’s leading providers of drilling services to the landfill and waste industries. Using large dedicated landfill rigs and experienced engineers, we drill boreholes for landfill gas extraction and utilisation, leachate control and environmental monitoring. We can also install impact wells for interim gas control and evacuation of subterranean fires.

Our in-house Chartered Environmental Engineers are highly experienced and renowned in the industry for their vast knowledge and expertise. As such, we are able to provide advice and assistance on all landfill issues and regulatory requirements. We provide advisory services for global projects based in the UK, Europe, Middle East, Australia and the USA.

Retro Drilling

Dragon Drilling brings a wealth of expertise to the landfill industry and provides a highly reliable retro drilling and leachate extraction service that utilises latest technological innovations and best practice procedures. As experts in the waste industry, we operate in accordance with latest legislation and regulatory requirements to enable private and local authority landfill site owners to effectively control and monitor leachate levels.

Due to differential settlement and silt deposition, many leachate boreholes fail or become ineffective across landfill sites. The installation of replacement leachate boreholes necessitates drilling to the drainage blanket at the base of the landfill else the borehole is effectively useless. As the drainage blanket is only 300mm thick, the installation can be considerably complex. Potential risks include the challenge of intercepting the drainage blanket without compromising the liner and the need to extract saturated waste from the base of the site. Dragon Drilling has therefore developed high performance equipment and innovative drilling techniques that ensure such complex projects are carried out safely and successfully.

As a company operating at the forefront of the drilling industry, Dragon Drilling has patents on many of its drilling techniques. In 2007, we were granted patent GB 2426988 on a specialist drilling shoe, which enables us to drill deeper and more efficiently than other operators. This specialist drilling shoe is used with our drilling rig console to identify the drainage blanket as soon as the shoe makes contact, eliminating the possibility of our activities penetrating the containment engineering on the landfill site.

In 2006, we pioneered a drilling technique that enabled the saturated waste from a borehole to be removed after the physical characteristics of the waste had been changed using a conditioning agent. Patent GB 2431177 was granted in 2008 for the conditioning of saturated waste from a borehole.

All rigs operated by Dragon Drilling are equipped with our recently developed remote winch-operated incline control system for the safe drilling on inclines of 1:3. As with all our equipment, this system was designed, manufactured and tested by our own engineers prior to use

We are proud to relentlessly pursue new technologies and advanced techniques that improve operating practices within the industry. Our ability to intercept the drainage blanket and remove saturated waste from depths of up to 85m enables us to install leachate boreholes on sites where conventional drilling techniques have repeatedly failed.

Casing Leachate Boreholes

Leachate boreholes can be cased with MDPE casing with external diameters of 315mm, 250mm or 225mm. As Ø406mm steel will normally have been used to achieve depth it is possible to retract the Ø406mm steel casing by 1 to 6m to afford protection for the MDPE casing from differential settlement. Some operators prefer to remove the Ø406mm steel casing and Dragon Drilling rigs are powerful enough to remove Ø406mm steel casing that has been installed to depths of 85m.

An alternative to using MDPE casing is to install Ø244mm steel casing within the Ø406mm steel casing, which is removed on borehole completion. The Ø244mm steel has the strength to resist differential settlement and it also enables cost savings to be made as the Ø406mm steel is recovered. Furthermore, the Ø244mm steel option can be used on sites where “hot spots” would destroy MDPE casing.

Some site operators have requested that our steel casing is adapted to minimise any effects on the containment engineering. A design for steel casing with a telescopic section to allow for differential settlement was patented in 2013.

Gas Extraction

Landfill gas, in addition to being flammable and odorous, contains a significant amount of greenhouse gases. It is an integral part of an environmental permit that landfill gas is controlled and, on many sites, it is utilised for power generation.

Using our extensive expertise and high performance equipment, we are able to drill to depths in excess of 85m. Wells are typically drilled to a diameter of 450mm and casing sizes are installed as specified by the client. Field engineers are available for butt fusing casing and pipework.

Dragon Drilling is committed to identifying and improving drilling techniques to ensure the inherent complex challenges typically associated with landfill gas extraction can be efficiently overcome. All our rigs are equipped with our remote winch-operated incline control system for the safe drilling on inclines of 1:3, which was designed and manufactured in-house.

Gas extraction boreholes have an upper seal of fully hydrated bentonite, which is installed using our bentonite mixing machine. This equipment attaches to a mini excavator and was granted Patent GB 2433215 in 2007.

Site Monitoring

We provide complete borehole installation site monitoring services, specialising in sites that monitor landfill gas, leachate and ground water. All rigs in our fleet are equipped to drill both gas and water monitoring boreholes and we can obtain samples at a site location.

We are able to offer advice and guidance about the site installation and offer a range of drilling methods to suit the required depth and diameter, ground conditions and particular project specifications.


Redundant boreholes must be decommissioned to a high standard to ensure the site remains safe and mitigate the risk of groundwater pollution, gas release or oxygen ingress, which can cause fires.  Dragon Drilling specialises in the decommissioning of both disused gas and leachate wells and boreholes.

As Chartered Environmental Engineers, we can ensure the decommissioning of a particular site is carried out according to regulations stipulated by the Environment Agency. As each site differs in terms of usage, geology and borehole construction, our expertise ensures projects are completed efficiently and successfully.

Once we have identified the exact requirements of a particular site, we operate our patented bentonite mixer to swiftly complete the work. The mixed bentonite slurry ensures an effective back fill from top to bottom. All steel casing required for decommissioning sites is fabricated at our in-house manufacturing facility.

What our Clients Say

It was a pleasure to have quality contractors on my new build site and they were both excellent in their manner and tidy with their working. As a client one cannot ask for more. Wherever I had a question with Malcolm, Dan and Simon they were very detailed in their answers and did not appear at all flustered by my somewhat repetitive interruptions.

Leicestershire - Water borehole

July 8, 2024

Thank you, I'm very grateful for all your excellent work.

South Wales - Water Borehole and Ground Source Heating

July 2, 2024

Please thank your drilling crew for me, they did a great job last week.

South Wales - Water Borehole

July 2, 2024

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