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Enviroprobe Sonic Drilling Services



A growing demand for sonic drilling services in recent years has led environmental and geotechnical drilling companies to incorporate sonic drilling rigs into their fleets. Why is this? Simply put, when compared to most traditional conventional auger and air or mud rotary drilling setups, sonic drilling is a cleaner and more efficient approach. Enviroprobe Service has been providing sonic drilling services since 2014 and continues to better achieve our client's goals through each event. We currently own and operate (2) Geoprobe 8140DT Sonic Drill Rigs.


What Is Sonic Drilling?

Sonic drilling is an advanced drilling technique which generates high-frequency energy inside a sonic head to advance a core barrel downwards through the subsurface. Oscillators within the head create vibrations which are transmitted through the drilling string, causing a liquefying effect and loosening the surrounding strata. At this point, rapid penetration is possible and core barrels and casing are advanced. Each time the core barrel has been advanced, casings are placed over the core barrel. This allows the core barrel to be retrieved without collapsing the borehole, even in unconsolidated substrates.


Sonic drilling services are effective through a variety of site conditions. Sonic rigs can be used in more solid formations, although they undoubtedly work best in overburdened conditions. When drilling through these rock formations, refusal is rare; instead, it just takes a slightly longer drilling time. They are also ideal through varying subsurface conditions like glacial till and areas of landfill or urban debris.


Sonic Drilling Benefits

The benefits of this drilling method are manifold and far outweigh any potential limitations that they may encounter. These benefits include, but are not limited to:



Sonic drilling is often estimated as being 3-5 times faster than conventional rotary drilling (of course, this varies dependent on lithology). This is because the oscillations liquefy the surrounding formations and dramatically reduce friction. At the same time, the open core barrel collects the center of the borehole as a continuous sample which can be retrieved without removing the entire drill string.



Conventional drilling is inherently very dangerous. The need to handle and touch rotating equipment brings with it a variety of hazards that cause cuts, pinches, crush points, strains, entanglements, and worse. Our sonic drill rigs enable rod loaders to do the heavy lifting. There are no flights on augers to catch clothing. We can also use a weighted wire line system developed by Geoprobe to trip fewer rods and limit the number of times our team needs to expose themselves to lifting and handling them. Sonic drill rigs also generally reduce the amount of potential hazardous waste to be handled from boreholes.


Superior Samples

Sonic drilling captures nearly continuous in-situ samples of any formations. This is just not possible with rotary drilling methods. Continuous core samples allow for our clients to make valuable observations and create data driven plans.


Less Waste

One of the main issues from site investigations is the waste that is produced. Sonic drilling services can reduce waste derived by investigations by as much as 80%. These wastes can contaminate and therefore corrupt sample integrity or even cause further environmental impact if not handled correctly. This can also help with expensive waste removal fees.


No Refusal/Versatility

As previously mentioned, sonic drilling services have tremendous flexibility. They can be used through subsurface conditions including changing strata with cobble and boulders, debris and urban fill, and overburden to rock without needing to switch machines or drilling techniques. They can be used to install monitoring wells, collect soil samples in-situ, or combined with split spoons for geotechnical investigations. This flexibility allows us to perform the assigned task the first time without costly delays or re-mobilizations.


Enviroprobe Service offers a huge variety of drilling services, from direct push and augers to sonic drilling. Call today at (800) 596-7472 to discuss whether sonic drilling is right for your project.

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