• Thermal Remediation
  • Drilling
  • Investigation Derived Waste
  • IDW
  • Environmental Drilling and Sampling

Advantages of Sonic Drilling for Installation of Thermal Remediation Systems

Jun 20, 2017 -

With  fully integrated drilling, site investigation, and environmental remediation capabilities, expert advice has never been more accessible.  The professional teams at Terratherm and Cascade Environmental often work closely together with our in order to provide the most appropriate technology for each remediation project. Cascade’s Sonic drilling method, which is often utilized within infrastructure applications, is one method that TerraTherm has deployed in many of their large scale thermal remediation systems, including one at the Solvents Recovery Service of New England, Inc. (SRSNE) Superfund Site in Southington, Connecticut.

TerraTherm selected sonic drilling, a method that is ideal for large scale systems, because there were several hundred heater wells installed within the SRSNE treatment area. Potential NAPL migration was a concern during this project, but TerraTherm, in conjunction Cascade, was able to develop a customized drilling and well installation procedure to prevent further mobilization of NAPL into bedrock during or after well installation. 

The Benefits of Sonic Drilling

Sonic drilling certainly packs a powerful punch, which is why environmental drilling professionals have found it to be an ideal “workhorse” technology for the installation of large scale thermal remediation systems.

Consultants know that each remediation project carries with it a unique set of drivers that play into system design and cleanup objectives. When those drivers are total cost, safety, and reliability, Sonic delivers.


Sonic’s low-impact technology and automated hands-free loading system help to minimize the crew’s tool handling, which greatly reduces the risk of operator injury. Additionally, the smooth rods and casing significantly decrease the potential to snag clothing or gloves on the rig itself. These safety advantages, which provide a more stable working environment and increased confidence among team members, result in higher productivity on-site.


We all understand that time is money.  With penetration rates up to four times faster than conventional methods, sonic drilling ensures system installation is completed in a much shorter timeframe, as much as half in many cases. Fewer days on site translates into real dollars saved in equipment, labor, rentals, per diems, and more. Additionally, sonic cuts your waste disposal expense because it generates up to 80% less investigation derived waste like drill cuttings, mud and water, when compared with other drilling technologies.


Unexpected or difficult geologic conditions can often cause lengthy (and hence costly) delays with auger drilling installations. The robust sonic technology drills a continuous straight, plumb hole through both hard and soft formations that include cobbles, boulders, debris, and hard, dense clay. Handling the toughest conditions with little worry of refusal ensures that installations are completed on schedule.

Additionally, sonic drilling installation allows for electrode construction inside of a plumb, temporarily cased borehole at total depth.  With Electrical Resistance Heating (ERH) systems which are commonly used for thermal remediation, proper placement of all system components (graphite, shot, electrodes) in the borehole is critical, allowing the entire setting to become a distributor of electricity. In order for the system to function as planned, it is essential that the installed conditions are identical to design specifications. Sonic installation provides the most assurance of achieving these results.

Read more about TerraTherm’s SRSNE project here.

If you’re interested in the ways in which Cascade Environmental and our team of Subsidiaries can help you with your environmental remediation project, request a quote today!

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