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 ...


Kentucky, USA


Treviicos Soletanche JV

Type of product

W80 & W150 Hammers

The rehabilitation of the Wolf Creek Dam in Kentucky, USA, started in 2007. Wassaras waterpowered drilling equipment was chosen for the drilling of both the Ø 95 mm (4”) boreholes for grouting as well as the Ø 200 mm (8”) pilot holes.

The water-powered technology proved to be both accurate and benign to the formation.
Max allowed borehole deviation for the project was 0.15%. Wassara both met the stringent requirements and kept the time schedule.

A troubled dam

The Wolf Creek Dam in Kentucky, USA is an earthen embankment and concrete gravity dam, 1 748 meters (5 736 ft.) long. Chronic leakage problems originating from 1940’s foundation construction methods were worsening and threatening the stability of the dam. In 2007, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers placed the dam under a ‘high risk for failure’ classification, along with the Center Hill Dam in Tennessee.

The Wolf Creek Dam Foundation Remediation is probably one of the most extensive and complex dam foundation remediation projects in the world.

Rehabilitation plan

In 2007, the contractor Treviicos Soletanche JV was contracted by the US Army Corps of Engineers, to construct a grout curtain at the Wolf Creek Dam. The contract is part of the major dam reinforcement project underway on the Cumberland River.

The plan is to seal the leaks, using a cement-injected diaphragm wall in combination with a grout curtain that extends approximately 1 280 meters (4 200 ft.) along the entire embankment and some 84 meters (275 ft.) down into the ground.

When completed, a total of 1 144 000 m3 (251 600 000 gal) cement has been inserted in the dam.

Download full Casestudy for further technical details

Equipment used

DTH HammerW80 & W150 Hammer
Drill bitØ 95 mm (4”) and Ø 200 mm (8”)
PumpWASP 150 Diesel
Drilling fluidClean water from the river
RigCubex for the Ø 95 mm (4”) holes & Soilmec for
the guided Ø 200 mm (8”) holes
Borehole length84 meters (275 ft.)
Scope of drilling54 000 meters (180 000 ft.)
Geologic formationKarstic limestone

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