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Publication numberUS20030082005 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/279,174
Publication dateMay 1, 2003
Filing dateOct 24, 2002
Priority dateOct 26, 2001
Also published asUS20030082359, WO2003035984A1
Publication number10279174, 279174, US 2003/0082005 A1, US 2003/082005 A1, US 20030082005 A1, US 20030082005A1, US 2003082005 A1, US 2003082005A1, US-A1-20030082005, US-A1-2003082005, US2003/0082005A1, US2003/082005A1, US20030082005 A1, US20030082005A1, US2003082005 A1, US2003082005A1
InventorsChristopher Scott
Original AssigneeGreentech, Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Subterranean fluid cavity and methods and systems comprising same
US 20030082005 A1
Abstract
The present invention is directed to, in part, modules that allow for the exchange of a fluid such as a liquid or gas to and/or from a growing medium or surface and systems and methods comprising same. In one embodiment, there is provided an apparatus for directing the flow of a fluid passing through a growing medium, the apparatus comprising: a top having a plurality of perforations, a base that is positioned adjacent and substantially parallel to the top, thereby defining a cavity for passage of fluid therein, and a plurality of supports interposed between the top and the base, the supports maintaining the height of the cavity and being sufficient in number, size, and physical properties as to permit the top to support the weight of the medium and activity above the medium.
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Claims(22)
What is claimed is:
1. An apparatus for controlling a fluid passing through a medium, the apparatus comprising:
a top comprising a plurality of perforations;
a base that is positioned adjacent and substantially parallel to said top, thereby defining a cavity for passage of fluid therein; and
a plurality of supports interposed between said top and said base, said supports maintaining the height of said cavity and being sufficient in number, size, and physical properties as to permit said top to support the weight of said medium and activity above said medium.
2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said top and said base further comprise a groove.
3. The apparatus of claim 2 further comprising a sealing strip disposed within said top groove and said base groove and extending from said top to said base.
4. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said supports are affixed to said base.
5. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said supports are affixed to said top.
6. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said supports comprise top supports affixed to said top and base supports affixed to said base.
7. The apparatus of claim 6 wherein said top supports interlock with said base supports.
8. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said fluid comprises water.
9. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said fluid comprises air.
10. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said apparatus resides at least 1 inch below the surface of said medium.
11. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said apparatus resides at least 10 inches below the surface of said medium.
12. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said top further comprises a retaining rib.
13. The apparatus of claim 12 further comprising a perching substrate disposed within said retaining rib.
14. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein said top and said base further comprise an interlocking edge.
15. An integrated system for directing the flow of a fluid underneath a medium wherein the system comprises a plurality of modules wherein the modules comprise:
a top having a plurality of perforations,
a base that is positioned adjacent and substantially parallel to said top, thereby defining a cavity for passage of fluid therein; and
a plurality of supports interposed between said top and said base, said supports maintaining the height of said cavity and being sufficient in number, size, and physical properties as to permit said top to support the weight of said medium and activity above said medium.
16. The system of claim 15 further comprising sealing strips.
17. The system of claim 16 wherein said sealing strips are installed at the perimeter of said plurality of modules.
18. The system of claim 15 further comprising a heating or cooling unit and a circulator.
19. The system of claim 15 further comprising a device for applying a vacuum to said plurality of modules.
20. A method for directing the flow of a fluid underneath a growing medium, wherein the method comprises the steps of:
providing a system of interconnected modules defining a pathway for the flow of the fluid wherein each module is comprised of a top having a plurality of perforations, a base that is positioned adjacent and substantially parallel to said top, thereby defining a cavity for passage of fluid therein, and a plurality of supports interposed between said top and said base, said supports maintaining the height of said cavity and being sufficient in number, size, and physical properties as to permit said top to support the weight of said medium and activity above said medium;
capturing said fluid within said cavity of said interconnected modules via said perforations on said top of said modules; and
directing said fluid through said cavities of said interconnected modules.
21. The method of claim 20 wherein said interconnected modules further comprise sealing strips.
22. The method of claim 20 wherein said fluid is directed to a collector.
Description

[0001] This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 60/339,792, filed Oct. 26, 2001.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0002] The invention relates to an integrated system of modules that control the intake and outtake of fluids, such as water or air, through a medium such as soil. The apparatus of the present invention, and methods and systems comprising same, involve providing interconnected modules that reside underneath the majority of and preferably, substantially all of the medium. The modules form a subterranean cavity for fluid passage. In preferred embodiments, fluid flow can be contained and directed within the cavity.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0003] The present invention is directed to apparatuses, and systems and methods involving same, that control the subterranean environment of a variety of media or botanical growing them, including but not limited to, natural turf surfaces in sports stadiums, gardens, botanical displays, roof-top gardens, and lawns.

[0004] Turfing systems for stadiums are known wherein turf plants are grown and maintained in turf units at a location remote from the stadium and, when necessary, transported to the stadium for configuration into a desired playing field. In accordance with such systems, an artificial surface can be transfigured into a natural grass-playing surface within a short time period. After use, the turf units may be disassembled and transported back to the growing locations such that the artificial surface of the stadium can be used for other events where a natural grass surface is unnecessary.

[0005] Exemplary turf systems are disclosed, for instance, in the commonly assigned U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,187,894, 5,467,555, and 5,595,021, which are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety and collectively referred to herein as Ripley. In the turf units disclosed in Ripley, a growing medium is disposed in growing pans, or trays, wherein substantially entire turf plants are grown and maintained within the growing trays. The level of the top surface of the growing medium, and thus, the level of the turf plants, is maintained at a significant height above the level of the sidewalls of the growing pans. Accordingly, when a plurality of turf units are placed adjacent each other to construct a playing field, a continuous natural grass playing surface is created at a significant height above the level of the growing trays. The turf units are designed to withstand tremendous forces exerted upon them during use.

[0006] Environmental events, such as heavy rain fall or snow fall, or man-made events, such as over-watering or fertilization, may cause damage due to the accumulation of water, fluids, and/or other waste products on the natural grass playing surface or growing surface of a lawn, turf, or garden. These may lead to soft spots or erosion of the surface of the growing medium. In this connection, these are safety concerns due to potential for slip and fall accidents as well as microbe or mold growth resulting from pooling water. Additionally, excess accumulation of fluids on the growing medium may also lead to drowning of the plant(s) contained therein. Thus, it is desirable to provide a means to allow excess fluids to be removed from, and redirected away, from the surface of the growing medium.

[0007] Known systems to redirect excess fluids from the surface of the soil or other medium may involve grading of the surface or the installation of underground drainage piping. These systems, however, are not without their drawbacks. Grading systems may not be practical for installations where a level surface is needed. Underground drainage pipe systems are oftentimes accompanied by mechanical means, such as vacuum pumps, to extract excess fluids, such as storm water, away from the soil in a unitary direction. These systems, due to their many juncture points, may be prone to leakage of the pipe joints or failure of the pump to remove or redirect the fluid from the surface of the soil. In addition, underground drainage pipe systems are limited in the amount of the fluid and flow rate that they may remove from the surface. Pipe systems are also limited in the amount of fluid that they can transport into and out of the medium. Furthermore, the efficiency of fluid transport within the medium varies because some regions within the medium are more proximate to the piping system than others. For example, at points in the medium between two pipes, the fluid will need to flow both laterally and vertically to reach the pipe while the fluid in the medium directly above a pipe, will travel only vertically. The varying efficiencies of fluid transport results in non-uniform fluid movement within the medium.

[0008] Accordingly, a need in the art exists for apparatuses, methods, and systems for removing excess fluid from growing medium without reliance upon grading, piping, or mechanical means, wherein the apparatuses, methods, and systems are adaptable to differing environments, locations, and uses or applications. Further, there is a need in the art for methods and systems that also allow for the exchange of fluid with the medium such as aeration and the removal of toxic gases out of the root zone of a medium such as soil. There is also a need to provide a tailored system for storm and wastewater management of a medium. Moreover, there is a need in the art for improved control of the surface temperature of the medium.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0009] These and other needs in the art are met by the present invention. The present invention provides convenient, simple apparatuses, systems, and methods for the removal and exchange of fluids with a medium. In certain embodiments, the medium may support microenvironments, such as, but not limited to, microenvironments with plants or botanical gardens. The medium may also support natural or artificial turf systems. The methods and systems of the present invention comprise a module that is at a level below the surface of the medium. In accordance with preferred embodiments, the modules comprise a top having a plurality of perforations and a base that is adjacent and substantially parallel to the top to form an interior volume or cavity for the passage of a fluid therein. A plurality of supports is interposed between the top and the base such that the height of the cavity is maintained. The supports are sufficient in number, size, and physical properties as to permit the top to support the weight of an overlying. In certain preferred embodiments, the top further comprises retaining ribs to provide additional strength to the top and provide lateral support to the overlying.

[0010] In some embodiments, there is provided a system for directing the flow of a fluid underneath a growing medium wherein the system comprises a plurality of modules. These systems preferably comprise modules with a top having a plurality of perforations and a base that is adjacent and substantially parallel to the top to form an interior volume or cavity for the passage of a fluid therein. A plurality of supports is interposed between the top and the base such that the height of the cavity is maintained. The supports are sufficient in number, size, and physical properties as to permit the top to support the weight of an overlying. In certain preferred embodiments, a sealing strip is installed within the cavities of the modules to contain or direct fluid within the system.

[0011] In a further embodiment, there is provided a method for directing the flow of a fluid within a growing medium comprising the steps of: providing a system of interconnected modules defining a pathway for the flow of the fluid wherein each module is comprised of a top with perforations, a base that is adjacent and substantially parallel to the top thereby defining an cavity for passage of fluid therein, and a plurality of supports interposed between the top and the base that maintain the height of the cavity; retaining the fluid within the plurality of modules via the perforations on the top of the modules; and directing the fluid through the pathway formed by the interconnected modules. The supports are sufficient in number, size, and physical properties as to permit the top to support the weight of the growing medium.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0012] The foregoing and other features and advantages of the present invention will be more clearly understood from the following drawings that represent non-limiting examples of the invention and wherein the different figures represent:

[0013]FIG. 1 is a perspective view with cut-away that depicts an integrated system with three modules and a perimeter seal strip;

[0014]FIG. 2 is an exploded view of an exemplary module suitable for use in systems and methods of the present invention;

[0015]FIG. 3A is a cross-sectional view of an exemplary support on the base of the module;

[0016]FIG. 3B is a cross-sectional view of another exemplary support on the base of the module that corresponds with a support on the top of the module;

[0017]FIG. 3C is a cross-sectional view of a spacer ring encircling the top and base supports of a module;

[0018]FIG. 4 provides a cross-sectional view of an exemplary integrated system of the present invention; and

[0019]FIG. 5 is a cross-sectional view of another exemplary integrated system of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0020] As used herein, “medium” may include of variety of substances, such as but not limited to, any naturally occurring or blended soil together with engineered plant growth materials. It may comprise sand, clay, humus, silt, individually or in combinations and may include polystyrene particles or shapes, vermiculite, and, in short, anything capable of sustaining or facilitating plant growth. The medium may also, wholly or in part, be non-plant containing. Thus, it may be or support artificial turf, e.g., Astroturf®, rubberized material such as track surfaces or any other surface, especially porous or drainable surfaces. Medium may also include nutrients and minerals. Medium may further include sand or other granular substances that allow, for example, the control of storm surges and avoid taxing local storm drain systems. In certain embodiments, the medium is used as a growing medium to support plants. In this connection, the medium is desirably adapted to provide a thriving environment for the specific plants that grow above the modules. U.S. Pat. Nos. Re. 35,006 and 6,134,834, which are incorporated herein by reference in their entirety, describe certain media that are particularly amenable to some embodiments of the present invention.

[0021] The term “plants” includes a multitude of plant and fungal species. For example, plants include but are not limited to flowers, bushes, trees, vegetables, mushrooms, and grasses.

[0022] The term “microenvironments” means a small-scale environment that mimics or represents a naturally occurring environment on Earth. For example, such microenvironments can contain biotic and edaphic factors, which are present in the naturally occurring environment, which the microenvironment either mimics or represents. The term “edaphic factors” means those factors that relate to the soil and include, for example, salinity, pH, and drainage.

[0023] The term “fluid” includes both gases and liquids such as liquid or gaseous water, nitrogen, oxygen, or mixtures of water or other solvents incorporating additives that are conducive to fostering growth of a plant. Fluid may also include chemicals such as pesticides, nutrients, minerals, etc. in liquid or gaseous form. In addition, fluids may also include environmental or man-made wastewater, which may contain the presence of undesirable contaminants. Fluids may also include gases such as carbon dioxide that are released from plants contained herein. The term “contaminant” is not specific to any particular contaminant and includes any impurity in the waste stream in any form, including dissolved or suspended form.

[0024] The term “perching substrate” relates to a substrate that allows a fluid, such as water, to enhance or eliminate fluid perching from the surrounding medium. One example of a perching substrate is gravel.

[0025] Preferably, the module of the present invention, and systems comprising same, reside underneath the medium at a depth that may vary depending upon a variety of factors such as climate, weight of overlying medium, plants that may reside within the medium, location (i.e., roof-top versus natural environment), and the like. For example, the module of the present invention preferably resides at least one inch, preferably from 4 to 12 inches, and more preferably from 12 to 18 inches below the surface of the growing medium. In certain embodiments, the top of the module further comprises one or more retaining ribs to provide additional strength to the top and lateral support to the overlying.

[0026] The modules of the present invention are preferably interconnected to form a subterranean network underneath at least a portion of the medium. Depending upon the application, it is envisioned that the modules of the present invention may be either temporarily or permanently installed underneath the medium. In this fashion, the systems and methods employing the modules creates an underground cavity area that corresponds to the surface area of the medium above. In certain embodiments, the module further comprises seal strips to contain or direct fluid flow. Thus, the present system may be used to control fluid flow within a cavity beneath a grass surface, an Astroturf® surface, or a temporary soiled surface, among many other embodiments.

[0027]FIG. 1 shows a perspective view with cut-away that depicts an integrated system of three modules 10 with medium 110 and plants 130. Each module 10 comprises a cavity 15 for controlling fluid beneath the medium 110.

[0028] Module 10 may be formed from a variety of materials, including but not limited to, metals, rubbers, preserved woods, and plastics. In preferred embodiments, modules 10 may be constructed of plastic or other materials that are inert to plant growth chemistry and to the effects of the contaminants within the fluid stream such as but not limited to fertilizers, chemicals, and the like present within the growing medium or plants. A wide variety of plastics may be employed such as reinforced polyalkenes, such as polyethylenes, polypropylenes, ABS, and the like. Preferably, the materials are extremely tough and durable to support the weight of the growing medium as well as plants and other materials that reside above it. In embodiments where the modules are temporarily installed or where weight is important, the materials may be lightweight to allow for ease of transportation, removal, and installation.

[0029] The modules employed in the present invention can have a variety of shapes and dimensions. The dimensions of the module may range, for example, from about one foot to about ten feet in length, from about one foot to about ten feet in width, and from about one inch to about ten feet in depth. However, these dimensions are merely suggestive and the user can design modules with dimensions that are deemed appropriate for the user's needs. Other forms of modules may be employed in accordance with this invention having different geometries and the like.

[0030]FIG. 2 provides an exemplary module 10 of one embodiment of the present invention. Module 10 comprises a top 20 and a base 40. Top 20 and base 40 form a cavity 15 when top 20 is positioned adjacent and substantially parallel to base 40. Top 20 further comprises a plurality of perforations 30. The size and shape of perforations 30 should be sufficient to allow fluid to pass through without losing the medium residing above top 20. Fluid may pass through the medium into the cavity 15 of module 10 via gravitational or mechanical means. Perforations 30 are capable of transferring fluid into and out of the module 10. For example, a fluid such as wastewater may pass through the medium 120 and through perforations 30 into cavity 15 of module 10. Alternatively, heating or cooling air may be passed into cavity 15 of module 10 and then through perforations 30 and into the medium. This allows for aeration and temperature control of the medium and plants contained therein as well as the removal of excess fluid from the growing medium. Still other purposes of perforations 30 include drainage, gas exchange, wastewater management, irrigation uses, etc. Yet a further purpose of perforations 30 is to foster oxidation to allow for the decomposition of organic materials from within the medium.

[0031] As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, a plurality of supports 60 are located between the top 20 and base 40. Supports 60 aid in maintaining the height of cavity 15 within module 10. The supports 60 provide structural support and added strength to module 10. Preferably, supports 60 are arranged to not interfere with the flow of fluid into and out of perforations 30. The number of supports 60 may vary depending upon how deep the modules are installed beneath the surface and the weight of the overlying medium 120. For example, deeper installations may require more supports 60 due to the increased weight above the module 10 whereas shallower installations may require fewer supports 60.

[0032] FIGS. 3A-3C show alternative methods for supporting the top 20. The supports 60 may be affixed, in whole or in part, to the top 20 or base 40. As shown in FIGS. 2 and 3A, the supports 60 may be protrusions that extend up from the base 40. In certain embodiments, such as that shown in FIG. 3B, top support 60′ may extend down from the top 20 to adjoin with support 60. Alternatively, top supports 60′ could extend to base 40 (not shown). Furthermore, the supports 60 may be designed to assist in the alignment of the top 20 with the base 40. For example, as shown in FIG. 3B, the support 60 extending from the base 40 can form an interlock with the supports 60′ extending from the top 20. A similar interlock can be formed in either the top 20 or base 40 if the supports 60 or 60′ only extend from one surface.

[0033]FIGS. 2 and 3C show a method of using a spacer ring 70 to support the top 20. The spacer ring 70 fits over the support 60 on the base 40. Similarly, the support 60′ on the top 20 fits into the spacer ring 70. The spacer ring 70 assists in aligning the top 20 with the base 40. The spacer ring's 70 dimensions may be varied. Thus, the use of a spacer ring 70 increases the number of applications for which a particular module 10 design may be used. For example, an application requiring a larger cavity may use the same top 20 and base 40 as an application requiring a smaller cavity simply by increasing the height of the spacer rings 70 used in the module 10. Alternatively, the diameter and quantity of spacer rings 70 can be varied within a module 10 to account for differences in weight of the overlying medium 120.

[0034] The top 20 and base 40 are preferably adapted to interlock, either directly or via spacer ring, to insure proper alignment and integrity. A variety of configurations may be adapted to join top 20 and base 40 together, such as but not limited to, press fit or snap fit of base support 60 with top support 60′, press fit or snap of base support 60 with top 20, press fit or snap fit of top support 60′ with base 40, press fit or snap fit of spacer ring 70 with base support 60 and top support 60′. Alternatively, top 20 and base 40 can be fastened together with fastening means such as a bracket that mounts over one or more sides of the corresponding edges of top 20 and base 40 (not shown). Preferably, the fastening means are not permanent.

[0035]FIG. 4 provides a cross-sectional view of an exemplary integrated system of the present invention with seal strips 80. As FIGS. 1 and 4 illustrate, seal strip 80 can be disposed within corresponding grooves 50 on top 20 and base 40. Seal strip 80 can be used to contain or direct fluids within the cavity 15 of a module 10. Seal strip 80 can be included on one or more sides of a module 10. In some embodiments, seal strip 80 can be comprised of a deformable material to form a pressure or airtight seal on one or more sides.

[0036] As shown in FIGS. 1 and 4, the modules of the present invention can be integrated with one another to form a large surface area or system. In certain preferred embodiments, seal strip 80 allows the modules to be interconnected with respect to each other yet still allows for the passage of the fluid within the network of modules. In an integrated system, seal strip 80 can be installed along the perimeter edges of an integrated system of modules 10 to contain fluids within the cavities, 15 of the modules 10. Seal strip 80 can also be installed in interior modules of an integrated system to direct fluid within the cavities 15 of the integrated system of modules.

[0037]FIG. 5 provides a cross-sectional view of an alternate embodiment of the present invention. As shown in FIG. 5, the module 10 of the system is preferably adapted to interlock with another module 10 at one or more sides to insure alignment and integrity. The modules can be fastened together with the fastening means described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,134,834, which is incorporated herein by, reference in its entirety, or other means such as the means disclosed herein. As shown in FIG. 5, the interconnected modules can be joined together with one or more interlocking edges, such as the male module connectors 140 and 150 and the female module connectors 160 and 170. The male module connectors 140 on the base 40 and 150 on the top 20 interlock with the female connectors 170 on the base 40 and 160 on the top 20. The interlock between modules is preferably designed to maintain a seal to prevent fluid escape. The interlock is also preferably designed to maintain a flat surface on base 40, as shown in FIG. 5. Aside from the intermittent supports 60, maintaining a relatively flat surface on base 40 reduces the likelihood of liquid flow interferences within cavity 15.

[0038]FIG. 5 also shows an optional perching substrate 110, medium 120, and plants 130. Optional perching substrate 110 may be used to perch the fluid within medium 120, provide drainage, and/or to prevent medium 120 from flowing through perforations 30 into the interior of module 10. Medium 120 may comprise soil, sand, clay, decomposed organic matter, nutrients, minerals, fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, and the like, alone or combinations thereof. The composition of medium 120 may be adjusted depending upon the plant(s) selected and the environment in which the modules, or systems comprising same, resides. Further examples of media suitable for sustaining plants may be found, for example, the media disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,134,834, which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety. In alternative embodiments of the present invention, medium 120 may comprise an artificial soil being relatively lightweight when compared to natural soils. In this regard, the modules of the present invention can optionally comprise custom mixtures of soil to facilitate growth of any desired plant. It will be appreciated that soil for the growth of plants is predominately sand or soil with varying amounts of sand, clay, decomposed organic matter, nutrients, minerals, fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, and the like. Likewise, the soils can vary in their water content, sand content, and other soil composition depending on the requirements of the plant(s).

[0039] As shown in FIG. 5, in certain preferred embodiments, the top further comprises a retaining rib 100 to provide additional strength to the top and provide lateral support to the overlying. The retaining rib 100 can be on one or more sides of the top 20. Top 20 can also have a ridged surface such as that shown in FIG. 5 to provide additional support for the weight resting upon it. Likewise, base 40 can have a flat surface or a rigid surface.

[0040] According to one embodiment, such as the embodiment depicted in FIG. 2, the module 10 can be designed to be highly transportable. Easy transportation of the module accommodates the rotation of plants or artificial material on the surface of the module 10.

[0041] The modules of the present invention can be used alone or in conjunction with other means, such as mechanical techniques, to aid in the removal or injection of fluid through the module 10 into the growing medium 120. The modules of the present invention are most effective for removing fluid via gravitational means through the perforations 30 into the cavity 15 of the module 10. After passing through the medium 120, the fluid can be directed through a pathway created by seal strips 80 in the interconnected modules. The pathway can direct the fluid into an effluent container to be discarded or recycled. The ability to direct and collect the fluid passing through the medium 120 can reduce undesirable discharges of fertilizers, pesticides, and other contaminants into the environment. This method can also be used for treating wastewater by having the medium 120 function as a filter without allowing the filtrate to contaminate the ground below.

[0042] In another embodiment, the present invention provides that the plants 130 within the medium 120 can be irrigated such that water reaches the plants 130 from below the medium 120. In this embodiment, water can be injected back through the cavity 15 of the module 10 through the perforations 30 on the top 20 of the module 10 and into the medium 120. This method allows the medium 120 to be flood irrigated from below to conserve water, i.e., reduce evaporation, wet foliage and fungus attacks. The modules prevent additional consumption or contamination of water by the ground below. This system can be particularly useful in arid climates where water is in short supply.

[0043] In another embodiment, the present invention provides systems and methods such that the medium 120 and plants 130 contained therein can be heated or cooled from beneath the medium 120. Modifying the temperature of the medium 120 facilitates the growth and maintenance of the plants 130. In this embodiment, a heating or cooling unit can be used in conjunction with a circulator to force air through the cavity 15 of the modules with or without the means of flexible tubing. The heating or cooling unit and the circulator can be one unit or separate units. The tubing need not run the entire length of the system but rather be connected to one or more modules through an inlet or manifold.

[0044] The effect of forcing heated or cooled air within the cavity 15 of the modules may be to modify the temperature of medium 120 such that the growth or maintenance of the plants 130 will be affected. For example, forcing heated air under the modules will prevent or reduce medium 120 freezing. Heated or cooled air may also be used to melt snow or cool the surface during extremes in temperature. In addition, cooling the medium 120 promotes heat tolerance, which can be beneficial in warm climates.

[0045] In yet a further embodiment of the present invention, the system of interconnected modules would further comprise an inlet and/or outlet at one or more modules that may connect to a vacuum or an air generator or system to create a pressurized system. The inlet or outlet within one or more modules may connect to a manifold prior to the vacuum or air generator to regulate the flow of air or vacuum to the system. The system may be closed, contained, or open. The method of injecting a fluid or pulling a vacuum may occur at one or many modules within the system depending on the size of the system or its end use.

[0046] The present invention further comprises a method for directing the flow of a fluid underneath a growing medium 120. The method comprises the steps of providing a system of interconnected modules 10 with seal strips 80 defining a pathway for the flow of the fluid, retaining the fluid within the cavity of the plurality of modules via the perforations 30 on the top 20 of the modules; and directing the fluid through the pathway formed by the seal strips 80 in the interconnected modules. The method of the present invention may further comprise collecting the fluid in a fluid collector for disposal or to be reused for other purposes such as irrigation.

[0047] Those skilled in the art will appreciate that numerous changes and modifications may be made to the embodiments of the present invention and that such changes and modifications may be made without departing from the spirit of the invention. It is therefore intended that the appended claims cover all such equivalent variations as fall within the true spirit and scope of the invention.

Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US6802668 *Oct 16, 2002Oct 12, 2004Alton F. ParkerSubterranean drainage system
US7029201Aug 28, 2003Apr 18, 2006Ch2M Hill, Inc.Utility line bedding for storm water management and storm water management system and method
WO2006123111A1 *May 15, 2006Nov 23, 2006Econoplas LtdTurf tiles
Classifications
U.S. Classification405/43, 405/45
International ClassificationE01C13/08, A01G1/00, E01C13/02, E01C13/00
Cooperative ClassificationE01C13/083, E01C2013/006, E01C13/02, A01G1/005
European ClassificationE01C13/02, A01G1/00C, E01C13/08B
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
Nov 24, 2003ASAssignment
Owner name: GREENTECH, INC., VIRGINIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:SCOTT, CHRISTOPHER PAINE;REEL/FRAME:014723/0972
Effective date: 20021022