News Release Archive

Drilling at Potential Dam Site Enters Next Phase

Media Contact: Dick Link , (208) 378-5230
Norbert Ries , (509) 575-5848 ext. 203

For Release: February 02, 2004

The Bureau of Reclamation has begun the next phase of drilling as part of a federal feasibility study aimed at finding options for additional water storage to benefit the Yakima River Basin.

In this next phase of drilling, which will last about a month depending on the weather, Reclamation drill crews will drill a pilot hole approximately 400 feet deep, said Reclamation geologist Dick Link. The core samples collected from this deep hole will help us evaluate the geologic character and engineering properties of the foundation material beneath this potential dam site, he continued.

The drilling for the 4-inch diameter hole began January 29. One drill rig will be at the potential Black Rock dam site, located about 30 miles east of Yakima, Washington.

According to Link, at the conclusion of this stage of drilling, another stage will begin. We will drill another 400-foot hole to conduct tests which will allow us to evaluate the amount of seepage that might occur through the dam foundation. The water test data will also be used to evaluate the amount of leakage between the different ground water aquifers present at the site, Link explained.

This activity is being conducted as part of Reclamation's Yakima River Basin Water Storage Feasibility Study, authorized by Congress in February 2003. Additional information about the study is located at The geology investigation is scheduled to be completed by late spring, 2004 and the results will be incorporated into Reclamations fast-track assessment which will be completed in July, 2004.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier in the United States, and the nation's second largest producer of hydroelectric power. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @USBR.

Relevant Link:

Yakima River Basin Water Storage Feasibility Study