2009 – The Use of Sonic Drilling in Support of the Installation of a Double-line Grout Curtain at Wolf Creek Dam

Steve Bratton

Many earthen dams and embankments throughout the world are in need of remediation to address seepage or other issues and ensure structural integrity. Borehole drilling plays a vital role in facilitating implementation of remedial designs, both in the initial information gathering stage and the actual construction of a chosen remedy.

Within the past six to eight years Sonic drilling has become recognized within the geotechnical community as a viable method to meet overall project objectives and address site specific issues for a variety of projects. Key aspects of Sonics include: the ability to efficiently penetrate difficult subsurface conditions, provide a continuous core sample of unmatched quality, and minimize or eliminate risk to the structure from the drilling process. This paper focuses on the application of Sonic in support of a remedial effort at Wolf Creek Dam, including information on the background and overall objectives of the project, a brief explanation of the Sonic method, the scope of services required at the site, and the specific reasons for utilizing Sonic in this case.

Keywords: sonic drilling, grout curtain, Wolf Creek Dam, dam remediation

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