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Title:
SEDIMENT COLLECTOR WITH SELF INSTALLATION AND SELF REMOVAL FEATURE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2021/021710
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A sediment collector assembly (100) (and associated method) includes a housing (102) dimensioned for receipt in an associated waterway. The housing has a wall (104, 106, 108, 112) forming an internal cavity (120). An opening (126) receives associated sediment from the associated waterway and temporarily stores the associated sediment in a hopper (128) received in the cavity and the associated sediment is subsequently removed therefrom. A chamber (160) in the housing includes at least one inlet port (162) extending through the wall that communicates with the chamber. A plurality of perforations (164) are spaced from the inlet port and extend through the wall. The inlet port is in selective, alternative, operative communication with an associated source of (i) pressurized fluid or (ii) pressurized air whereby when the pressurized fluid is introduced into the collector assembly chamber an overall weight of the collector increases and when ejected through the perforations, the fluid displaces associated soil from a bottom surface of the associated waterway.

Inventors:
TUCKER RANDALL (US)
Application Number:
PCT/US2020/043700
Publication Date:
February 04, 2021
Filing Date:
July 27, 2020
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
TUCKER RANDALL L (US)
International Classes:
E02B3/02; B08B3/10; C02F7/00; E02B8/00; E02F5/28; E02F7/00
Foreign References:
US20190144317A12019-05-16
US20140314484A12014-10-23
US20180106703A12018-04-19
US20150225974A12015-08-13
US20090097920A12009-04-16
US20050016930A12005-01-27
US20030136743A12003-07-24
US20030189016A12003-10-09
US4397503A1983-08-09
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
NAUMAN, Timothy, E. (US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
It is claimed:

1 . A collector assembly comprising:

a housing dimensioned for receipt in an associated waterway and having a wall forming an internal cavity, and an opening communicating with the cavity is configured to receive associated sediment from the associated waterway and temporarily stores the associated sediment in the cavity and the associated sediment is subsequently removed therefrom;

a chamber in the housing includes at least one inlet port extending through the wall that communicates with the chamber, and a plurality of perforations spaced from the inlet extending through the wall and that communicate with the chamber, the inlet port in selective, alternative, operative communication with an associated source of (i) pressurized fluid to increase an overall weight of the collector and ejected through the perforations for displacing associated soil from a bottom surface of the associated waterway, and (ii) pressurized air whereby filling the chamber with air facilitates buoyancy and aids in extraction of the collector assembly from the associated waterway.

2. The collector assembly of claim 1 wherein the housing has a generally v-shaped cross-section, and the chamber perforations are located in a vertex region of the v-shaped housing.

3. The collector assembly of claim 2 wherein the chamber perforations are directed outwardly from the housing in a pattern that extends over an acute angle.

4. The collector assembly of claim 1 wherein the inlet port and the chamber perforations are disposed at top and bottom portions of the housing, respectively.

5. The collector assembly of claim 1 wherein the housing has first and second sidewall portions inclined relative to one another.

6. The collector assembly of claim 1 further wherein the opening includes a grate that prevents large dimensioned material from entering the internal cavity.

7. The collector assembly of claim 6 wherein the internal cavity includes hoppers disposed beneath the grate that receive the associated sediment therein.

8. The collector assembly of claim 7 wherein an outlet

communicates with the hoppers to remove the collected associated sediment from the housing.

9. The collector assembly of claim 6 further comprising an injector port extending through the housing into communication with the hoppers for introducing fluid into the hoppers.

10. The collector assembly of claim 9 further comprising an ejector port connected to an associated vacuum source, the ejector port extending through the housing into communication with the hoppers to facilitate removal of sediment collected therein.

11. A collector assembly comprising:

a housing having an opening that communicates with a hopper to receive sediment therein; a cavity in the housing adjacent the hopper selectively receives one of fluid or air.

12. A method of installing and/or removing a collector assembly from a waterway, the collector assembly including a housing dimensioned for receipt in an associated waterway and the housing having a wall that includes at least one inlet port extending through the wall that communicates with the chamber, and a plurality of perforations spaced from the inlet port extending through the wall and that communicate with the chamber, the method comprising:

providing pressurized fluid through the inlet port into the chamber whereby the fluid increases an overall weight of the collector assembly;

ejecting the pressurized fluid through the perforations toward a bottom surface of the associated waterway for displacing associated soil from the bottom surface of the waterway; and

at least partially filling the chamber with air to facilitate buoyancy and aid in extraction of the collector assembly from the associated waterway.

13. The method of claim 12 wherein the ejecting steps include directing the pressurized fluid or pressurized air over a pattern that extends through an acute angle.

14. The method of claim 13 further comprising forming the housing to have a V-shaped cross-sectional portion and locating the perforations adjacent a vertex of the V-shaped cross-sectional portion.

15. The method of claim 14 further comprising terminating the pressurized fluid into the chamber once the housing is situated in the

bottom surface of the waterway.

16. The method of claim 12 wherein the housing further includes forming a hopper, and an injector port and an ejector port communicating with the hopper, the hopper receiving sediment from the associated

waterway.

17. The method of claim 16 further comprising temporarily

storing the sediment in the hopper.

18. The method of claim 17 further comprising subsequently removing sediment from the hopper via the ejector port.

19. The method of claim 18 further comprising providing a

pressurized flow across a surface of a grate that covers the opening to keep the grate surface clean.

20. The method of claim 12 wherein the waterway is a sandy beach shore, the method further comprising locating the collector assembly adjacent where waves break at a coastline.

21. The method of claim 12 further comprising controlling speed of associated pumps that communicate with the injector/and ejector ports, to thereby provide a zero suction impingement upon a surface of the grate.

22. A method of removing sediment from a pool area of water comprising: installing an omnidirectional collector having a sediment receiving opening; and at least partially burying the collector beneath the water so that sediment enters the collector through the opening from sediment carrying water passing over the opening.

Description:
SEDIMENT COLLECTOR WITH SELF INSTALLATION

AND SELF REMOVAL FEATURE

Background

[0001 ] This application claims the priority benefit of US provisional application Serial Number 62/879,154, filed July 26, 2019, the disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.

[0002] This invention relates to a collector assembly particularly useful for capture and removal of sediment from a waterway.

[0003] Sediment collectors and use of sediment collectors to remove sediment, sand, particulates, silt, etc. (collectively referred to herein as "sediment") from a waterway are well-known. For example, commonly owned US Patent Nos. 6,042,733; 6,346,199; 6,764,596; 7,850,857; 7,975,850; and published applications US2019/0144317A1 and PCT/US219/032482 are representative of background technology, and the entire disclosures and details thereof are expressly incorporated herein by reference.

[0004] A particular area of need exists with regard to a collector for capturing sand or materials that can be used for beach replenishment, sold for other beneficial re-use, etc. and particularly a collector that works in swash, splash, and wading zones in both tidal and non-tidal areas. In addition to the noted near shore applications, the collector should also be capable of functioning in increased depth areas as well, where the collector could be used as a grade control structure for use in beach areas, and maintaining navigable inlets, rivers, ports, or marine entrances/outlets.

[0005] It would be desirable for the collector to be installed in a sand bottom region of a waterway or water body near shore or offshore.

[0006] Further, the collector must be capable of installation at differing placement angles relative to the shoreline, and a sub-surface installation would be desirable to enhance sand transport.

[0007] Periodic removal of the sediment from the collector is also desirable. [0008] Integration of the collector into the associated environment is desirable, i.e., advantageously using adjacent, available resources to incorporate the collector into the environment without adversely impacting or disturbing existing ecosystems. For example, avoiding use of heavy equipment for installation and operation of the collector and/or transport of the collected sediment to a location spaced from the collector is paramount to minimizing the impact on the existing environment and ecosystems.

[0009] Thus, a need exists for an improved collector arrangement that provides at least one or more of the above-described features, as well exists for an improved collector arrangement that provides at least one or more of the above-described features, as well as still other features and benefits.

Summary

[0010] There is provided a new collector assembly that includes a housing having an opening that communicates with a hopper in the housing to receive sediment therein. A cavity in the housing adjacent the hopper selectively receives one of fluid or air.

[001 1 ] A chamber in the housing cavity includes at least one inlet port extending through the wall that communicates with the chamber, and a plurality of perforations spaced from the inlet extending through the wall and that communicate with the chamber, the inlet port in selective, alternative, operative communication with an associated source of (i) pressurized fluid to increase an overall weight of the collector and ejected through the perforations for displacing associated soil from a bottom surface of the associated waterway, and (ii) pressurized air whereby filling the chamber with air facilitates buoyancy and aids in extraction of the collector assembly from the associated waterway.

[0012] The housing may have a generally v-shaped cross-section, and the chamber perforations are preferably located in a vertex region of the v-shaped housing.

[0013] The chamber perforations may be directed outwardly from the housing in a pattern that preferably extends over an acute angle.

[0014] The housing inlet and the chamber perforations are preferably disposed at top and bottom portions of the housing, respectively. [0015] The housing has first and second sidewall portions may be inclined relative to one another.

[0016] The inlet may include a grate that prevents large dimensioned material from entering the internal cavity.

[0017] The internal cavity may include hoppers disposed beneath the grate that receive the associated sediment therein

[0018] The outlet preferably communicates with the hoppers to remove the collected associated sediment from the housing.

[0019] An injector port may extend through the housing into communication with the hoppers for introducing fluid into the hoppers and an ejector port may be connected to an associated vacuum source to facilitate removal of sediment collected therein.

[0020] A method of removing sediment from a waterway includes installing an omnidirectional collector having a sediment receiving opening, and at least partially burying the collector beneath the water so that sediment enters the collector through the opening from sediment carrying water passing over the opening.

[0021 ] The method further may include providing pressurized fluid through the inlet port into the chamber whereby the fluid increases an overall weight of the collector, and providing air into the chamber to decrease the weight of the collector and facilitate extraction.

[0022] The ejecting steps may include directing the pressurized fluid or pressurized air over a pattern that extends through an acute angle.

[0023] The method may include forming the housing to have a V-shaped cross- sectional portion and locating the perforations adjacent a vertex of the V-shaped cross- sectional portion.

[0024] The method may include terminating the pressurized fluid into the chamber once the housing is situated in the bottom surface of the waterway. [0025] The method further includes forming a hopper, an injector port, and an ejector port communicating with the hopper, the hopper receiving sediment from the associated waterway.

[0026] The method may include temporarily storing the sediment in the hopper.

[0027] The method may include subsequently removing sediment from the hopper via the ejector port.

[0028] The method may include locating the collector assembly adjacent where waves break at a coastline.

[0029] The method may include controlling speed of associated pumps that communicate with the injection/and suction, to thereby provide a zero suction impingement upon a surface of the grate

[0030] A primary benefit is the ability of the collector assembly to self-install.

[0031 ] Another advantage is the ability of the collector assembly to self-extract.

[0032] Yet another benefit resides in making the collector assembly essentially innocuous to aquatic life.

[0033] Still other benefits and advantages of the present disclosure will become more apparent from reading and understanding the following detailed description.

Brief Description of the Drawings

[0034] Figure 1 is a perspective view of a preferred embodiment of a collector assembly, or a portion of a larger collector assembly.

[0035] Figure 2 is an enlarged perspective view of the collector assembly of Figure 1 with selected internal structure schematically illustrated.

[0036] Figure 3 is a view of a similar collector assembly with a portion of a grate removed for ease of illustration into a hopper located inside the collector housing.

[0037] Figure 4 is a cross-sectional view taken through the collector assembly of Figure 1 .

[0038] Figure 5 is an enlarged view similar to Figure 4. [0039] Figure 6 is a still further enlarged view of the bottom or keel region of a preferred arrangement of the collector assembly.

Detailed Description

[0040] As noted in the Background, the present disclosure finds particular application in connection with capturing sediment (and particularly one preferred collected type of sediment such as sand) for use in connection with beach replenishment, and to maintain navigability of waterways. The ability to place a collector in near shore applications is particularly desirable, and specifically providing a collector that works in swash (i.e. , a narrow channel of water aligned within a sandbank or between a sandbank and the shore), splash, and wading zones in both tidal and non-tidal areas. Alternatively, the collector can function in deeper depths of water, as well such as used in grade control along a variety of areas such as beach regions, navigable inlets, rivers, ports, etc.

[0041 ] Turning to Figures 1 -6, there is shown a collector assembly (sometimes referred to herein as a collector) 100 that includes a housing 102 which in a preferred arrangement is an elongated, generally rectangular-shaped structure that is sized for the required application. The housing 102 has a generally rectangular-shaped upper surface conformation 104, and likewise generally rectangular-shaped side portions 106 and end portions 108 that merge into a generally triangular-shaped lower portion 1 10. The generally triangular-shaped lower portion 1 10 includes sidewalls 1 12 that proceed from side portions 106 toward one another in in angular relation toward an intersection or keel 1 14. Of course one skilled in the art will recognize that slight modifications to the overall conformation of the housing 102 can be made without departing from the scope and intent of the present disclosure since those modifications that do not adversely impact the functional aspects to be described below are likewise intended to be covered.

[0042] The housing 102 is hollow and as more particularly evident in Figures 2 - 5, defines a cavity 120 that is subdivided into a sediment retention region or hopper assembly 122 and a hollow chamber (160 to be described below) used to assist in installation and removal of the collector assembly 100 in a manner to be described further below. The hopper assembly 122 is similar to that shown and described in connection with applicant's commonly owned technology (e.g., see US 7,850,857 and US 2019/0144317A1 ). The housing 102 includes an opening 126 in the upper surface 104 that communicates with a hopper cavity 128 formed by angled or tapering sidewall portions 130 and further, partially segregated by a series of longitudinally adjacent tapered walls 132 (Figure 3) that together subdivide the hopper cavity into substantially discrete hopper cavity portions. A grate or screen 140 preferably covers the opening 126 and prevents larger materials from entering the hopper cavity 128 while allowing sediment therethrough. A portion of the grate 140 is removed in Figure 3 to more particularly illustrate the structure of the hopper cavity portions. Thus, as is evident, the angled sidewall portions 130 and tapered walls 132 direct or funnel sediment that falls through the grate 140 toward a bottom of the hopper cavity portions. The sediment (which is heavier than the water in which the sediment is initially carried and introduced through the grate 140) collects in the hopper cavity 128 and is periodically removed from the collector 100 via a pumping action. One preferred pumping arrangement uses inject and eject ports 150, 152 that communicate with the individual hopper cavity portions and fluidizes the sediment collected in the hopper cavity portions. This is accomplished, for example, by pumping water into the inject/eject ports 150, 152, mixing with the collected sediment in the hopper cavity portions, and pumping the fluidized sediment from the hopper cavity portions, thereby allowing the collected sediment to be pumped to a designated shore or near shore disposal area. The ports 150, 152 can provide the fluid (pressurized fluid input) to the hopper cavity portions and remove the fluidized sediment (vacuum fluid output) to effectively pump off the collected sediment. In addition, if required, internal water jets (not shown) may be operatively associated with the hopper cavity portions to eliminate any bridging or clogging of the sediment material in the hopper cavity portions. The sediment can be removed on an as needed basis, relative to a predetermined sand transport rate, or still other manners (e.g. time, weight, combinations) of removal can be used. Generally, the structure and operation of collecting and pumping off sediment in connection with the hopper cavity portions is known from prior technology developed by the inventor of this application.

[0043] In addition to the collection of the sediment, the housing cavity 120 has an internal sealed chamber 160 that is used to facilitate placement and removal of the collector assembly 100. In the illustrated embodiment, the chamber 160 is disposed in surrounding relation to the hopper cavity 122, i.e. , the chamber is located in the housing 102 between the wall portions that define the housing cavity 120. Inlet ports 162 extend through the housing 102 (shown located here as extending through the top wall 104, although other convenient locations may also be provided) and communicate with the sealed chamber 160. High-pressure fluid such as water is introduced into the chamber 160 through the inlet ports 162. The fluid/water fills the chamber 160 thus adding weight to the collector assembly 100. Further, the pressurized fluid escapes through perforations or holes 164 preferably located at the base of the housing 102, specifically keel 1 14. The perforations 164 are sized to thereby direct high-pressure fluid outwardly from the housing 102, thereby displacing sediment (e.g. sand) from beneath the housing so that the collector assembly 102 "self-installs". Particularly, the collector 100 advances or buries itself into the sand, for example, until the upper portion 104 of the housing 102 is substantially flush with the beach or bottom of the waterway. Once flush, the high pressure fluid is no longer supplied through the inlet ports 162. This situates the grate 140 of the housing 102 substantially flush with the beach or waterway bottom so that sediment (sand) carrying water passes over the grate 140 and the sediment passes downwardly through the grate 140 and opening 126 into the cavity where the sediment is then collected in hopper cavity 128. Advantageously, omnidirectional or bidirectional water action flows over the collector assembly 100 so that sediment is collected therein in response to movement of the water thereover.

[0044] When it is determined that the collector assembly 100 should be removed, high-pressure air is directed through the inlet ports 162. The air enters into the sealed chamber 160, displaces the fluid/water previously stored therein during the installation phase of the collector assembly, and the air expels at least some of the water from the chamber through the perforations 164. This fluid and/or air flowing from the perforations 164 loosens or dislodges the collector assembly 100 and in addition since the chamber 160 at least partially fills with air, facilitates buoyancy for lift to aid in removal of the previously installed collector assembly from the waterway.

[0045] As additionally shown in Figure 2, the surface of the grate 140 can also be kept clear of debris by periodically providing for a deck wash. Deck wash ports 170 direct pressurized fluid/water from beneath the grate 140 or across the grate, or a combination thereof.

[0046] The collector assembly 100 advantageously provides sediment capture from wave and tidal sand, and also provides for sediment transportation. The collector assembly 100 is periodically pumped out and is uniquely configured to bury itself with the use of multiple jets through perforations 164 located on the keel 1 14 located along a central bottom portion of the assembly. Water pumped into the internal sealed chamber 160 of the collector assembly 100 is vented at the bottom through the perforations 164. Water forces the sand beneath the collector assembly 100 outwardly and away from the collector housing 102, e.g. along the diverging or angling surfaces 1 12 of the collector assembly, thus forcing the sand that is below the housing to be forced to the surface. This process allows the collector assembly 100 to bury itself, i.e., aid in self-installation. Subsequently, the internal sealed chamber 160 can receive pressurized air to assist in the removal of the collector assembly 100. Forcing air into the sealed chamber 160 forces the water outwardly through the perforations 164 in the keel 1 14 until the chamber is at least partially filled with air, thereby allowing the collector assembly 100 to become positively buoyant and assist in floating to the surface of the waterway.

[0047] Preferably, components of the collector assembly 100 are constructed of steel, stainless steel, plastic, rubber, or similar materials that are generally resistant to corrosion and suitably durable for the effective capture and removal of sand or sediment, and otherwise generally resistant to the intended environment where the collector assembly is intended for use. The sub-surface installation of the collector assembly 100 provides for an aggressive removal and effective sand transport from the collector to a desired site.

[0048] It is contemplated that power for operating the collector assembly 100 can be made available from one or more of a variety of sources. For example, wind power, solar power, wave-generated power, geothermal, portable generator, conventional power lines, etc. are all possible sources of electrical power to operate the assembly. Of course this list is exemplary and should not be deemed limiting.

[0049] This written description uses examples to describe the disclosure, including the best mode, and also to enable any person skilled in the art to make and use the disclosure. Other examples that occur to those skilled in the art are intended to be within the scope of the invention if they have structural elements or process steps that do not differ from the same concept, or if they include equivalent structural elements or process steps with insubstantial differences