US 20060127182 A1
Sediment control devices and systems are provided. The device generally includes a core made up of granular material encased within a puncture resistant fabric, a compressible layer enwrapping the core and a geotextile fabric outer casing. A plurality of such devices provide a system for controlling erosion and sedimentation.
1. A sediment control device comprising:
an inner member structured to be effective in substantially confining a granular material, the inner member including an openable portion for enabling filling of the inner member with such a granular material;
a compressible layer substantially surrounding the inner member; and
an outer member substantially surrounding the compressible layer and including a sealable opening positioned to facilitate access to the inner member openable portion.
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15. A package of sediment control devices, the package containing:
a plurality of sediment control device products; and
a shipping container containing the products;
the products being useful for controlling sedimentation when the products are each filled with a granular material, each of the products comprising
an inner member structured to be effective in substantially confining a granular material, the inner member including an openable portion for enabling filling thereof with such a granular material,
a compressible layer substantially surrounding the inner member, and
an outer member substantially surrounding the compressible layer and including an openable, sealable portion positioned to facilitate access to the flexible member openable portion.
This is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/088,396, filed on Mar. 23, 2005, which is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 10/445,968, filed May 27, 2003, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,905,289, the entire disclosure of each of which being incorporated herein by this reference.
The present invention generally relates to sediment control devices and systems useful for controlling soil erosion and sedimentation, for example resulting from construction activities.
Silt barriers, sandbags and concrete blocks are some of the many devices currently being used to control soil erosion and sedimentation resulting from industrial activities, such as construction projects and the like. Industrial activities such as highway and housing construction projects and the like, disturb and loosen soil, which is then vulnerable to being washed downstream during rains. The cumulative effect of these activities is a build-up of soil and other matter in waterways. This buildup of soil is generally known as sedimentation. Excessive sedimentation in waterways can destroy fish habitats, suffocate trees, clog streams, obstruct storm drains and culverts, pollute waterways, and cause other serious damage to the environment. Other detriments caused by excessive sedimentation include flooding, cost of repairing flood damage, expense of dredging estuaries and lakes, among others.
In addition to sediment loading, other pollutants are also generated from land disturbance associated with construction projects. The Clean Water Act defines point source pollutants to include storm water discharge from such industrial activities as construction. As a result, an increased number of state environmental regulations have addressed the mitigation of construction site runoff and a variety of new erosion control methods have been proposed and implemented.
Construction activities related to building roads and highways, flood control projects, and land development for residential and commercial growth contribute sediments, organic matter, nutrients, metals, and other types of pollutants to water bodies. It is believed that sediment is the major pollutant associated with construction related activities, representing approximately 4-5% of the nation's sediment load to adjacent and downstream receiving waters.
Conventionally, sandbags have been used to supplemental other soil control measures, such as the installation of silt fencing, catch basins and the like. Conventional sandbags are inexpensive and convenient to install and are often placed adjacent disturbed areas to block sediment from entering drainage areas. Sandbags can also be used to divert flowing water to a stable drainage outlet. The most commonly used bags are untreated burlap sacks available at feed or hardware stores. Such bags are filled with sand to form a sandbag. Sandbag barriers are typically constructed on site by two people. A typical filled sandbag weighs around 30 to 40 pounds and can be dragged or carried by a single person.
Although they are convenient to install, the use of conventional sandbags in or around construction sites suffers significant drawbacks. For example, the bags regularly burst when run over by machinery or construction vehicles. For obvious reasons, broken sandbags will exacerbate sedimentation problems if not removed promptly. The useful life of a sandbag is estimated to be about 2 weeks on a typical construction site.
New sediment control devices and systems have been discovered. The present invention provides highly effective, durable and convenient devices and systems for sedimentation and erosion control. For example, the present devices can be used in place of conventional sandbags, without suffering the drawbacks associated therewith. The present devices and systems effectively control sedimentation resulting from soil erosion, for example as a result of construction site activities and the like.
The devices and systems of the invention are useful for controlling erosion and preventing sedimentation of waterways, for example by diverting flowing water, and/or blocking and removing sediment from a water flow, for example from an area under construction.
Advantageously, the present invention is useful in place of, or as an addition to, conventional sandbagging practices, but with substantially better results than sandbagging alone. For example, the present invention is useful for diverting rising floodwater away from homes or building structures, and preventing oversaturation of and erosion of hillside slopes. The present invention is suitable for meeting various erosion control requirements using practices which are substantially analogous to conventional techniques, for example, conventional sandbagging techniques and practices. Necessary or desirable adaptations of the devices and systems of the present invention for specific purposes will be readily appreciated by those of skill in the art.
Accordingly, devices and systems useful for controlling soil erosion and sedimentation are provided. In one broad aspect of the invention, the devices comprise composite bags generally including multiple layers of different materials enclosed within an outer covering. More particularly, the present devices preferably generally comprise a core, a compressible layer substantially surrounding the core, and an outer layer enclosing the compressible layer.
Preferably, the core comprises a relatively dense granular material. More preferably, the core comprises a gravel filling. Even more preferably, the core comprises a filling of substantially non-angular gravel particles. For example, the gravel filling comprises smooth edged peat gravel. In one embodiment of the invention, the core comprises an inner enclosure, for example, an inner bag, for example made of a geotextile material, or other suitable porous, high strength material, confining or enclosing the granular material.
Preferably, the compressible layer substantially surrounds the core and comprises for example a fibrous layer made of natural or synthetic fibers. The compressible layer may comprise for example, wood fibers, for example, but not limited to aspen wood fibers. The compressible layer may comprise a fibrous blanket, for example a commercially available excelsior blanket, that is wrapped about the core.
The outer layer preferably comprises a nonwoven or woven geotextile material secured about and substantially enclosing the permeable material. For example, the outer layer preferably comprises a high strength, durable fabric, for example a woven fabric of monofilament of multifilament thread. The outer layer is sewn at edges thereof, forming a casing for the permeable layer. In one especially advantageous embodiment of the invention, the device includes a substantially squared portion on at least one end thereof in order to effectively seal the device against a structural surface, for example, a curb surface.
Advantageously, the device may be structured to filter and separate sediment contained in water that passes into and through the device. For example, the compressible layer may be a water permeable material that is effective in trapping coarse grained sediment that enters the device. The core is preferably structured to capture sediment, such as fine grained particles such as silt.
Preferably, none of the internal components of the present invention include sharp, jagged edges. The devices of the present invention are highly resistant to breakage, even when used in a high traffic area of a construction site. For example, the devices of the present invention, when used in place of conventional sandbags, have been found to have a longer useful life than conventional sandbags, for example, having a useful life of up to at least about 1 month up to about 6 months or more, whereas conventional sandbags typically have an expected useful life of only two weeks, when used in a similar setting or in an identical application.
In addition, the present devices are convenient to use. For example, the present devices are preferably sufficiently small in size and/or light in weight such as to enable lifting one of the devices by a single individual. The present devices are easily transportable, and can be used in any desired quantity and in various stacking configurations, for example, in a manner analogous to the use of conventional sandbags, depending on the application involved.
In another embodiment of the invention, the devices are fillable and are provided without the granular material, but are structured to enable an end user or consumer to fill the device with a desired granular material. For example, the sediment control device may comprise an inner member structured to be effective in substantially confining a granular material, the inner member including an openable portion for enabling filling of the inner member with such a granular material, a compressible layer, for example, excelsior, straw or other suitable material, substantially surrounding the inner member, and an outer member substantially surrounding the compressible layer and including a sealable portion positioned to facilitate access to the flexible member openable portion. Preferably, the openable portion of the inner member is sealable. Further, the outer member sealable portion may be substantially aligned with the inner member openable portion to facilitate access to and filling or the inner member.
Any and all features described herein and combinations of such features are included within the scope of the present invention provided that the features of any such combination are not mutually inconsistent.
These and other features, aspects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent hereinafter, particularly when considered in conjunction with the following claims, detailed description and drawings in which like parts bear like reference numerals.
Turning now to
A system 12 in accordance with the invention generally comprising a plurality of such devices 10 is shown in
Turning now to
Preferably, the core 20 comprises a granular material, such as an aggregate of sand, gravel, and/or crushed stone, for example, crushed granite and/or limestone.
More preferably, at least a major portion, that is, about 50% or higher, or substantially all of the granular material comprises granules 30 having substantially non-angular shapes, for example, substantially smooth or rounded shapes. In other words, at least a major portion of the granular material preferably mostly comprises granules 30 that have relatively low abrasion characteristics. For example, the granular material may comprise a natural rock-based polished gravel material, or a synthetic equivalent thereof. In one very useful embodiment, a major portion of or all of the granular material in the core 20 comprises peat gravel, for example but not limited to peat gravel having an average granule diameter of between about 0.2 inches and about 0.5 inches.
Preferably, the core 20 further comprises an inner enclosure 34 confining the granular material 30. The inner enclosure 34 may comprise a fabric material, for example a high strength, puncture resistant geotextile material. Preferably, the inner enclosure material is a high tensile strength and substantially puncture resistant, porous material. For example, the inner enclosure material may comprise a non-woven polypropylene geotextile having a high tensile strength, such as Mirafi® N-Series Non-Woven Geotextile. For example, the geotextile material is cut and stitched together to form a pocket enclosure which is filled with the granular material 30 and sewn shut.
The compressible layer 24 may comprise any suitable compressible material. In one very useful embodiment, the compressible layer 24 is effective to absorb, or lessen, a shock of impact on the device 10, for example when the device 10 is impacted by a vehicle, machinery, construction equipment and the like. For example, the device 10 is preferably structured such that the compressible layer 24 functions, at least in part, as a buffering element between the core 20 and the outer layer 28 such that upon the device 10, upon being overrun by construction vehicles and/or other heavy equipment, becomes compressed, causing air within the compressible layer 24 to be forced out through the outer layer 28. Upon the compressive load being removed from the device 10, the compressible layer 24 substantially recovers and substantially regains its original volume and shape in the uncompressed state. The device 10 thereby resists tearing, breakage, and/or otherwise being rendered ineffective for use, for example, even when the device 10 is subjected to relatively heavy usage.
In a preferred embodiment of the invention, the compressible layer 24 preferably comprises a fibrous material made of natural or synthetic non-woven fibers 36. The compressible layer may comprise for example, excelsior, straw, wood fibers, for example, but not limited, to aspen wood fibers. For example, a major portion of the fibers 36 making up the compressible layer 24 are curled wood fibers having a minimum length of at least about six inches allowing each of the fibers to interlock with one or more other of the fibers.
Preferably, as shown in
An example of a blanket suitable for this aspect of the present invention is a Curlex® I Stitched erosion control blanket manufactured by the American Excelsior Company in Arlington, Tex.
Persons of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that there are many suitable alternative materials that can be used for the compressible layer 24 within the scope of the present invention.
The outer layer 28 of the device 10 (not shown in
In one particularly advantageous embodiment of the invention, the outer layer 28 comprises a geotextile material, preferably a puncture resistant, high tensile strength geotextile material. Geotextile materials are well known and are generally understood to include permeable fabrics manufactured for use in geotechnical engineering-applications. Geotextiles are generally made of synthetic materials, for example polypropylene, polyester, polyamide and/or polyethylene, that are formed into fabrics and are woven, non-woven, or combinations of woven and non-woven. As a specific example of the present invention, not intended to be limiting the scope of the present invention, the outer layer 28 comprises a Mirafi®-Series Non-Woven Polypropylene Geotextile material.
The inner enclosure 34 and the outer layer 28 may comprise substantially equivalent or the same materials.
Alternatively, the outer layer 28 may comprise sackcloth or a burlap material.
Construction of the present device 10 may be accomplished as follows. The core 20 is constructed by depositing a desired amount of granular material 30 into a casing that forms the inner enclosure. The opening of the inner enclosure is stitched closed in order to prevent the granular material from spilling therefrom. The core 20 is then placed on an end portion 48 of an unrolled excelsior blanket 38 as shown in
In another aspect of the present invention, a system 12 for controlling sedimentation and erosion is provided, for example as shown in
Advantageously, the devices 10 of the present invention resist breaking, even when subjected to the harsh conditions associated with heavily used construction sites. Surprisingly, the present devices have been found to last up to about six months or more when used in conditions that would require sandbag replacement in only two weeks.
The present devices 10 and systems 12 function as effective filters of sediment contained in water that passes through the devices 10 or systems 12. Fine silt tends to become trapped within the core 20. Larger particulate matter tends to become trapped within the compressible layer 24.
Turning now to
The most significant difference between device 10 and device 110 is that device 110 includes a substantially squared edge portion 70 that is structured to enhance the fit of the device 100 against a gutter or curb. Preferably, the squared edge portion 70 is provided along at least one of a length and a width of the device 110, and more preferably along at least a width of the device 110 as shown. This may be accomplished by providing, for example by sewing, at least one additional seam 74 into the outer layer 128 of the device 110 in order to form the substantially squared edge portion 70. Other embodiments of the invention may include substantially squared edge portions along more than one of the edges of the device 110, for example along each length and width of the device 110.
With reference to
Like devices 10 and 110, device 210 is preferably a multilayered structure comprising a core 220 having a granular material 230 enclosed within an inner enclosure 234, a compressible layer 224, and an outer layer 228. As shown, device 210 is elongated and somewhat cylindrical in form and is structured to be sufficiently flexible in order to allow placement of the device 210 in the form of a desired configuration. For example, the flexibility of device 210 is preferably sufficient to allow placement of the device 210 in at least one of a C-shaped configuration (shown), a substantially straight, linear configuration, a circular configuration, a hook shaped configuration, and the like configurations. Advantageously, the device 210 has a structure, for example a sufficient weight or mass, to prevent the device 210 from rolling or otherwise becoming inadvertently displaced, for example by water flow or construction site vehicle traffic.
When used in place of conventional sandbagging, the present devices 10, 110, 210 have been found to be superior in filtering particulate material from a flow. The devices 10, 110, and 210 and systems 12 are useful as sediment traps, for example, by catching coarse particles being transported by small concentrated flows, for example in gutters and adjacent curbs. As shown in
The devices 10, 110 and 210 and systems 12 can also be used as small check dams, for example to reduce water velocity in a channel, thereby allowing some sediment particles to settle out of the flow. The devices 10, 110 and 210 and systems 12 also effectively function to control erosion below a slope and can be employed to divert flowing water away from an unstable area to a more favorable drainage area. In large measure, the devices 10, 110 and 210 and systems 12 can be effectively used in many, or all, of the applications in which sandbags can be employed. These are only a few of the possible applications for the present devices 10, 110, and 210 and systems 12, and it will be appreciated by those of ordinary skill in the art that there are many other useful applications therefore.
More specifically, device 310 is designed to facilitate shipment and/or storage of the device and reduce costs associated therewith, by reducing the bulkiness and weight of the device 310 relative to devices 10, 110, and 210.
Generally, sediment control device 310 comprises a fillable inner member 314 structured to be effective in substantially confining a granular material, the inner member 314 including a closed end (not shown) and a openable, sealable portion 316 structured to enable filling of the inner member 314 with a granular material and subsequent containment of the granular material therein. For example, inner member 314 may be substantially bag-like in structure. The sealable portion 316 may include hook and loop fastening strips 314 a, or another fastening mechanism that is suitable for substantially confining the granular material to be loaded into the inner member 314.
The device 310 further includes a compressible layer 322 substantially surrounding the inner member 314. The compressible layer 322 may comprise a woven or nonwoven material. In some embodiments, the compressible layer 322 comprises an erosion control blanket disposed around the inner member 314 as shown in
The device 310 further includes an outer member 350 substantially surrounding the compressible layer 322, and including a substantially squared end portion 354 (for enhancing fit against a curb as described elsewhere herein with reference to device 210), and a sealable, openable portion 358. As shown in
Preferably, each of the inner member 314, compressible layer 322 and outer member 350 are separable, individually made components. The inner member 314 is removable, or separable from the outer member 350. For example, the device 310 may be structured such that the inner member 314 can be easily removed from the outer member 350 in an intact condition without losing its bag-like structure. For example, the inner member 314, and compressible layer 322 may be removed from the outer member through the outer member openable portion 358. Further, the compressible layer 322 is also separable and removable from the outer member 314. For example, the compressible layer 322 may enwrap the inner member 314 without being sewn or otherwise bound thereto.
Turning now to
While this invention has been described with respect to various specific examples and embodiments, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited thereto and that it can be variously practiced within the scope of the following claims.