Fracking: 27 tons of dirty, radioactive socks per day

An advertisement for an ADsorb-it Filter Sock. Owner Herb Pearse says they have been "used for years to address...vault dewatering, sinking boat dewatering, and general dewatering and stormwater filtration issues."

Today's news that an abandoned gas station in North Dakota was found piled high with radioactive material taught us something about fracking: It produces 27 tons of dirty socks a day. Those are "filter socks," used to collect solids from the water that gets pumped into wells.

What else? The socks contain NORMs-- short for Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials.

Here's an oilfield joke (as cited here): Dope comes in five gallon buckets, joints are 30 feet long, with a pusher on every rig.

Hilarious, right? Here are more terms to, er, grease the wheel:

Pusher: Short for "tool pusher"-- the boss on a rig, the guy who keeps everything moving. 

Dope: Also known as "pipe dope"-- goop that lubricates the threads when screwing two pipes together, and creates a water-tight seal.

Joint: A length of pipe.

More fracking fun:

Pigs: Do not bust pushers. They are tools for cleaning pipes.

Escort services: Drilling equipment arrives at oilfields on trucks... as an oversize load. Escort services provide extra vehicles to accompany the trucks like a motorcade, making sure they get plenty of room on the highway.

Fishing: Not for recreation. When something gets dropped down the hole in a well, it's called a "fish." Guys with good fishing tools can make a good living in the oilfields.

Find more in the oilfield glossary compiled by the oil-production services company Schlumberger

About the author

Dan is a sustainability reporter for Marketplace.


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