You’ve been busy. Of course, my readers are always busy, doing their part to create and maintain the infrastructure that carries our water, extracts our oil and gas, and brings vital utilities to our curbsides, among other things. But they’ve also been busy clicking on National Driller stories, and we deeply appreciate the support they’ve offered us over the course of 2015.

To recognize all that clicking effort, I present to you the most popular National Driller stories of this year. I’m cutting it a bit early, since the year isn’t technically over. But these trends have held since mid-November, so I expect no surprise clicking frenzies among stories published between now and Dec. 31. It would take a lot of clicking to make up the difference, anyway.

I pulled a Web traffic report for our site since Jan. 1, and weeded out stories not published in 2015. That cuts out some perennial favorites that enjoy lots of traffic, despite being years old (I’m looking at you, How to Calculate Control Pressure Tank Drawdown).

Your interests range across the drilling spectrum. Of course, there’s a lot of groundwater drilling stories. But you also read a lot about rigs and tooling in general, foundations and geotech, and lots of other topics.

So, counting down from 10, here are our top stories of 2015.

10. Drilling Rig Maintenance 101

This story was bound to make the list, and I figured as much from the moment I assigned it. Readers want stories that help them do their jobs, and this reflects that.

9. How to Create Borehole Stability Using Drilling Fluid or Slurry

Our friends at Cetco Drilling Products have offered readers a bentonite truckload of good advice over the years, so I’m not surprised to see this column from industry veteran George Dugan make the list.

8. Reducing Fracking’s Freshwater Footprint

Hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) is a hot topic in and out of the drilling industry. Associate editor Valerie King, with this story, looks at industry efforts to reduce the use of freshwater supplies for fracking, and to recycle and repurpose the water that does get used.

7. A Quick Guide to Finding the Right Drilling Rig

Again, a “how-to” story makes the list. We spoke with experts in water wells, geothermal, foundations, mining and elsewhere about how they make the most important equipment decision.

6. Geosystems President Shares Thoughts on Industry, Terzhaghi Lecture

I will always remember this interview with Dr. Donald A. Bruce of Geosystems, which I did in the lead up to the 2015 IFCEE convention in San Antonio. Partly, that’s because Bruce is one of the most thoughtful industry professionals I’ve ever spoken with (and he literally wrote the book on dam remediation — well, edited it anyway). Partly, it’s because he was beyond gracious in allowing me to interview him twice after my audio recorder misfired during the first go.

5. Boart Longyear Uses Massive Bit, Drills Coal Mine Ventilation Shaft

We accept and run a lot of press releases, just like every other magazine. They get clicks, but usually not nearly as many as our features and columns. This one from Boart Longyear blew up, and I think it was all because of the “wow” factor of a 60-inch bit going 550 feet deep through two aquifers. It’s the only story on this list that isn’t a feature or column National Driller staff or contributors wrote from the ground up.

4. Scientists Able to Date Groundwater as Old as 1 Million Years

I have a huge interest in groundwater science, so I’m glad readers share it. This story gets into the weeds about how scientists use Atom Trap Trace Analysis (ATTA) and the rare isotope krypton-81 to put their finger on how old water samples taken from aquifers around the world are.

3. Palmer Bit Owner Discusses Getting the Most from Drilling Bits

We caught up with Kevin Christensen, owner of Palmer Bit Company, at the 2015 Michigan Ground Water Association show. He talks about maximizing the value per drilled foot when you make bit purchases. Associate editor Valerie King also captured this video to go with the interview.

2. You Know the Drill: Putting into Context What’s Actually Constructible

Our You Know the Drill feature is pretty popular, and this interview shows why. We get straight talk from interesting industry people like geotechnical engineer Hannah Iezzoni, who works for GEI Consultants and is a member of the Deep Foundations Institute's Women in Deep Foundations Committee.

1. Correcting Common Water Well Problems

This top story didn’t surprise me one bit. Our readers like stories that offer tips that they can use to get their jobs done and groundwater drillers are some of our most avid readers. This interview with David Hanson, founder of Design Water Technologies, even got the attention of a state water well standards agency, which wanted to reprint it in their newsletter.

So, that’s it, 2015’s most read stories on Dig in if there’s anything you missed or want to reread, or simply to find out what your fellow industry pros find interesting. Thanks again for reading and here’s to continued success for us and our readers in 2016.

Stay safe out there, drillers.