Monthly News and Updates 
About the Sonic Drilling Industry

Congress Set to Pass Major Legislation to Support Dam Industry

Legislation aimed at improving water resources across the United States is expected to pass in Congress. The Water Resources Development Act of 2016 provides $9 billion for various water infrastructure projects around the country, including repairs to dams and levees, improvements to ports, and relief for communities like Flint, Michigan, that have been impacted by lead-contaminated drinking water. 

You can access a detailed summary of the bill's highlights at

There are more details about the legislation from the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. Far more detail is located there if you are interested in the scope of the act. 

The Water Resources Development Act coincides with the 40th anniversary of one of the worst dam failures in U.S. history: The Grand Teton Dam Failure of 1976. The Teton Dam was an earthen dam on the Teton River, about 12 miles northeast of Rexburg, Idaho. It was built by the Bureau of Reclamation, one of eight federal agencies authorized to construct dams, and it suffered a catastrophic failure on June 5, 1976, on the occasion of it filling for the first time. The failure resulted in 11 fatalities, over $300 million in claims, and up to $2 billion in damage. The dam, which cost $100 million, has not been replaced.

At the Association of State Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO) annual conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, this month, Bruce Muller, Jr., gave a presentation on the Teton Dam failure and its impact on national policy. Bruce is the Director of Security and Law Enforcement for the Bureau of Reclamation. At the time of the dam failure, the Bureau of Reclamation was respected as a world leader in dam building. Bruce discussed how there were warning signs that should have been considered in the design and construction of the dam. In 1964, the Fontenelle Dam in southwestern Wyoming showed signs of weakness during its initial filling, requiring a series of emergency repairs. Lessons learned were not incorporated into the Teton Dam project.

The Teton Dam failure became a major focal point for the Carter administration and culminated with the Reclamation Safety of Dams Act of 1978. The Act authorized the Secretary of the Interior "to preserve the structural safety of Bureau of Reclamation dams and related facilities" and provided $100 million in available funds.

You can find a brief documentary on the Teton Dam failure here
Two Major Environmental Discharges Make National Headlines

Two environmental discharges occurred in September that will require months of assessment, remediation work, and monitoring. The first event was a sinkhole at Mosaic (Mulbery, Florida), the largest phosphate fertilizer manufacturer in the world. Mosaic had been using a wastewater pond to store its "gypsum stack" that contained sulfate, gypsum, sodium, and radioactive phosphogypsum created by the company's manufacturing process. The sinkhole that developed under the pond is believed to be connected to the local aquifer. According to Forbes, Mosaic eventually diverted the wastewater away from the sinkhole, but it is believed 215 million gallons were discharged.

Responding to the spill, Governor Scott directed the Florida DEP to immediately change its public reporting requirements. According to the Tampa Bay Times, the Florida DEP knew about the spill for three weeks before notifying the public.

The second spill was an oil pipeline leak in a section of the Colonial Pipeline, which runs from Houston to New York. The actual leak occurred near Birmingham, Alabama, beginning on September 9, 2016. According to CNN, 250,000 gallons were spilled. reports that the oil spill happened near the Cahaba River, an ecologically unique environment that is home to rare species already endangered by dam development projects. The article reports that it seems the spill was contained before it reached the river, but that will take time to verify.

Sonic Drilling is an ideal methodology for dealing with these kinds of large-scale assessment, remediation, and monitoring  projects. When speed is of the essence, it makes sense to turn to Sonic Drilling, which can work 3-5 times and sometimes 10 times faster than conventional drilling. More benefits of Sonic Drilling can be reviewed here. Particularly in areas where contaminated soil and groundwater are expected, using Sonic Drill Rigs will minimize IDW and work with precision in any lithology.

Find the security that Sonic Drilling can provide for your most challenging projects. Contact us today to learn more!

A Great Time at NDA and ASDSO

We had great experiences at both of the shows we exhibited at in September. Thank you to those of you who visited with us. We hope to see you again soon!

Mike Scaringella | Terra Sonic International | 352.801.9016 |