Water-powered drilling Changuinola 1 RCC Dam

The Wassara technology was used for drilling the foundation drainage and grouting holes and was chosen as it has delivered ...


Changuinola, Panama


Changuinola Civil Works

Type of product

W 80 Hammer

The Wassara technology was used for drilling the foundation drainage and grouting holes and was chosen as it has delivered successful results at a number of similar dam projects around the world. The drilling at the Changuinola I dam in Panamá was finished more than three months ahead of schedule, in May 2011.

Project needs

During the construction process, delays were out of the question. Therefore when it came to the drilling of grout and drainage holes, Wassara technology was the only feasible drilling choice. This is a well-proven fact, established by the key stakeholders Golder Associates and the Changuinola Civil Works consortium.

Drilling description and plan

In brief, the project required around 400 unique holes measuring Ø 95 mm (3.5”), to be drilled vertically downwards (+/- 20 degrees to the vertical) and depths 20 – 75 m (66 – 246 ft.) along the 595 m (1 952 ft.) dam crest, for grout curtain and drainage. This was done from the two cross-section galleries of the concrete dam.

The mission set for Wassara technology was to drill the grout and drainage holes for the new dam without incident. In total, ~30 000 m (~100 000 ft.) was drilled. The body of the dam itself consisted of hard concrete (80% of drillings), whereas the formation beneath the dam was very soft volcanic and abrasive sedimentary rock (20% of drillings).

Download full Casestudy for further technical details

Equipment used

DTH HammerW80 Hammer
PumpUraca RS3-45-E/250 (electric)
Drilling fluidClean Water from river
Drill rodsWassara, 1 000 – 2 000 mm, OD 76 mm
Borehole length20 – 75 m(66 – 246 ft.)
Scope of drilling~30 000 m (~100 000 ft.)
RigComacchio MC 600
Formation80% hard concrete and 20% volcanic and
sedimentary rock, abrasive basalt

Case studies

See our featured Case studies below to learn what real world Dam-projects our technology as been a part of.

  • Water-powered drilling in the very sensitive Wolf Creek Dam

    The rehabilitation of the Wolf Creek Dam in Kentucky, USA, started in 2007. Wassaras waterpowered drilling equipment was chosen for …

  • Water-powered drilling in confined galleries in Angostura Dam

    When complete, the Angostura Hydroelectric Plant will deliver power to around 300 000 households. The bedrock needed water-proofing, this was …