Title:
Portable berm device with snap-foam features
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The containment device constructed according to a preferred embodiment of the invention includes a rectangular base formed of an impermeable material, a deformable wall formed along a first set of opposable ends of the rectangular base, and a support wall formed along at least a portion of a second set of opposable ends of the rectangular base. The deformable wall has an upright configuration in which the deformable wall is capable of containing hazardous materials within the containment device, and a deformed configuration enabling wheeled vehicles to pass over the deformable wall to enter and exit the containment device. The support wall includes rigid upright support members maintaining the support wall in an upright position and, preferably, additional rigid hypotenuse and base members that coact with the upright support members to form right triangles anchored to a skirt affixed to the base of the support wall.



Inventors:
Moffat, David W. (Powell Butte, OR, US)
Gothro, Patrick G. (Auburn, WA, US)
Kimble, Donald L. (Woodenville, WA, US)
Application Number:
09/854099
Publication Date:
02/13/2003
Filing Date:
05/11/2001
Assignee:
Foss Environmental (Seattle, WA)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D90/24; F16N31/00; (IPC1-7): B65D1/34
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
MOY, JOSEPH MAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MARGER JOHNSON & McCOLLOM, P.C. (Portland, OR, US)
Claims:

We claim:



1. A containment device for surrounding and containing hazardous materials comprising: a rectangular base formed of an impermeable membrane defining a periphery having two sets of opposing edges; a deformable wall formed along a first set of opposing edges having an upright configuration in which said deformable wall will contain said hazardous materials within said containment device and a deformed configuration enabling wheeled vehicles to pass over said deformable wall to enter and exit said containment device; and a support wall formed along at least a portion of a second set of opposing edges, said support wall including rigid upright support members maintaining the support wall in an upright position.

2. The containment device of claim 1 further including a skirt coupled to the support wall, said skirt extending beyond the periphery of and formed coplanar with the rectangular base.

3. The containment device of claim 2, further including a plurality of tie down straps coupled to the skirt, said tie down straps having reinforced holes formed therethrough adapted to receive anchoring members for anchoring the straps to the ground.

4. The containment device of claim 2, further including: a plurality of pockets coupled to the skirt, each pocket having an open end; and a plurality of supplemental support members, each of said supplemental support members associated with a respective one of the plurality of pockets and including a rigid hypotenuse member and a rigid base member, said hypotenuse member being hingedly attached on a first end adjacent a top portion of the support wall and on a second end to a first end of the rigid base member, the second end of the rigid base member being a free end adapted to slide into the open end of the respective pocket thus forming an approximate right triangle with the hypotenuse member and the upright member.

5. The containment device of claim 4, further including a strap having first, second, and third pockets spaced coaxially along a length of the strap, said pockets adapted to receive rigid rods forming upright, hypotenuse and base members, respectively, wherein the space between each pocket is adapted to fold in a hinged manner thereby allowing the strap to fold into an approximate right triangle when the rods are inserted within respective pockets.

6. The containment device of claim 5, wherein said first, second and third pockets have respective lengths of 15, 19 and 11 inches.

7. The containment device of claim 5, wherein said first, second and third pockets have respective lengths of 12, 15 and 9 inches.

8. The containment device of claim 5, wherein said first, second and third pockets have respective lengths of 10, 13 and 7 inches.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0001] This invention relates generally to containment devices, and more particularly to a portable berm forming a containment barrier of a desired size for containing hazardous liquid chemical spills and the like which will also deflect in selected portions of the berm to a generally flat profile permitting wheeled vehicles to easily enter and exit the contained area.

[0002] The potential for a liquid chemical spill exists wherever chemicals are used. A chemical spill may occur inside a factory from machines leaking oil and the like or from storage tanks leading and rupturing. Chemical spills may also occur outdoors during the fueling of aircraft or vehicles or when vehicles containing chemical residue are washed. If left uncontained, the liquid spill will spread over a large area creating a hazardous work environment for individuals and possibly damaging equipment. If the spill occurs outdoors, the spill may contaminate ground water sources.

[0003] Accordingly, it is desirable to contain the spill to minimize damage and also to facilitate clean up.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0004] The containment device constructed according to a preferred embodiment of the invention includes a rectangular base formed of an impermeable material, a deformable wall formed along a first set of opposable ends of the rectangular base, and a support wall formed along at least a portion of a second set of opposable ends of the rectangular base. The deformable wall has an upright configuration in which the deformable wall is capable of containing hazardous materials within the containment device, and a deformed configuration enabling wheeled vehicles to pass over the deformable wall to enter and exit the containment device. The support wall includes rigid upright support members maintaining the support wall in an upright position and, preferably, additional rigid hypotenuse and base members that coact with the upright support members to form right triangles anchored to a skirt affixed to the base of the support wall.

[0005] The present invention combines a deformable wall portion with a support wall. The advantage of such a combination allows wheeled vehicles to be admitted to the interior of the containment device over the deformable wall portions while maintaining a maximum amount of liquid hazardous materials within the device without collapse.

[0006] The foregoing and other objects, features and advantages of the invention will become more readily apparent from the following detailed description of a preferred embodiment of the invention that proceeds with reference to the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0007] FIG. 1 is a top view of the containment device constructed according to a preferred embodiment of the invention.

[0008] FIG. 2 is a side view of the device of FIG. 1.

[0009] FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a portion of the device of FIG. 1.

[0010] FIGS. 4A through 4C are top plan views illustrating different embodiments of the snap support structures of the device of FIG. 1 shown in an unfolded position.

[0011] FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the snap support structure of FIG. 4C shown in a partially folded position.

[0012] FIG. 6 is a side elevation view of the snap support structure of FIG. 4C shown in a fully engaged position with a pocket formed within the skirt of the device of FIG. 1.

[0013] FIGS. 7A and 7B illustrate top and sides views of the tie down strap feature of the device of FIG. 1.

[0014] FIG. 8 is a cutaway top view showing the deformable wall construction.

[0015] FIG. 9 is a cutaway top view showing the triple layered welded corner of the deformable wall of FIG. 8.

[0016] FIG. 10 is a perspective view of a segment of the deformable wall of FIG. 8 deforming and enabling a wheeled vehicle to pass over the wall of the device.

[0017] FIG. 11 is a side view showing deformation of the wall taken along line 11-11 of FIG. 10.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0018] A top view of the containment device constructed according to a preferred embodiment of the invention is shown generally at 20 in FIG. 1. The preferred containment device 20 includes a rectangular base 22 formed of an impermeable membrane defining a periphery 24 having two sets of opposing edges, such as edges 26, 28 and edges 30, 32. Membrane 22 is preferably fuel/chemical resistant and is produced of rugged and resistant 32-oz./36 MIL fabric material.

[0019] The containment device is sized to admit and contain mobile objects such as trucks and, accordingly, in one embodiment is approximately ten feet wide by twenty-six feet long. It is understood, however, that the containment device constructed according to concepts described herein can be of any suitable size or shape considering a containment boundary is defined therein for maintaining contaminants or hazardous materials within the periphery 24 defined by the membrane 22. Because of the size of membrane 22, it may be required to construct membrane of more than one piece. In the embodiment shown, membrane 22 is constructed of three pieces coupled together by methods well known in the art such as hot air welds along weld lines 34, 36.

[0020] A deformable wall 38 is formed along a first set of opposing edges 26, 28. In the embodiment shown in FIGS. 8-11, the deformable wall is constructed of five-foot sections of close-celled urethane cores 40 (fed. Spec. PPP-C-1752D, Type 1, Class 1, Grade A) encased in a fuel/chemical resistant membrane cover 42. At the ends 41 of cores 40, each side of the cover 42 is folded inward to form angled sides 43, terminating in a flange 45 like the top of a milk carton. Spur grommets punched through the flange form apertures 47 through which adjacent sections of the deformable wall are tied together using twist-ties 49. FIG. 3 shows both coaxial sections tied together forming a single wall of the deformable wall 38 and sections at right angles tied to one another forming a corner of the containment device 20. FIG. 8 shows a corner of the containment device.

[0021] The deformable wall has a normally upright configuration 44 (FIG. 11) on the order of ten inches high and four inches thick that collapses in either direction to a compressed position 46 (FIG. 11) when a wheeled vehicle 47 rolls over the wall to enter or exit the containment device 20. Note that due to the dimensions and density of the urethane core 40 of the deformable wall 38, the compressed position still presents a containment height sufficient to maintain a certain amount of liquid contaminants within the containment area without spilling over the sides of the deformed sidewall. Apertures 48, 50 formed on a wall of the membrane cover 42 serve as a two-way air relief system that prevents the membrane cover from bursting when deformed under the weight of a wheeled vehicle and allows the urethane core 40 to spring up to its normally upright configuration 44 when the weight is removed. It is preferred that the apertures 48, 50 be formed on the bottom facing side of the deformable wall, although it is understood that the apertures can be formed on opposing faces (e.g. top and bottom) as shown in FIG. 10.

[0022] FIGS. 8 and 9 illustrate an embodiment for nesting the arranging the urethane cores 40 within the containment device and securing the cores within the membrane covers 42. The deformable wall 38 formed by the cores extends to portions of the second opposing edges 30, 32 of the base 22 periphery, formed at right angles to the cores positioned around the first set of opposing edges 26, 28. In the embodiment shown, the deformable wall sections (cores 40 with covers 42) form an open corner 52 tied together using twist ties 49. Each section is received within sleeves 54 formed at the ends of the impermeable membrane forming the base 22. Open ends of the sleeves allow the membrane 42 ends of the deformable wall sections to slide in an out as wheeled vehicles enter and exit the containment device. Adjacent edges of the base 22 are folded and sealed together by hot-air welds using a technique shown in FIG. 9, thereby forming triple-layered, tension-relieved corners 55.

[0023] Turning back to FIGS. 1-3, the containment device 20 includes a support wall 56 formed along at least a portion of the second set of opposing edges 30, 32 (adjacent the deformable, urethane core portions of the periphery). The support wall includes rigid support members 58 that act to maintain the support wall in an upright position. A skirt 60 is coupled to the support wall, extending beyond the periphery of and formed coplanar with the rectangular base 22. FIG. 3 illustrates an alternate embodiment of the invention where the skirt extends completely around the periphery of the containment device. A plurality of pockets 62 are formed on the skirt, as by hot-air welding, where each pocket has an open end 64 adapted to admit a portion of a supplemental support 66 member described in more detail below.

[0024] The plurality of supplemental support members 66 are each associated with a respective one of the plurality of pockets 62 defined within the skirt 60. The supplemental support member at lease includes the rigid hypotenuse member 76 and rigid base member 78. The hypotenuse member 76 is preferably hingedly attached on a first end 80 adjacent a top portion of the support wall 56 and on a second end 82 to a first end 84 of the rigid base member 78. The second end 86 of the rigid base member 78 is a free end adapted to slide into the open end 64 of the respective pocket 62, thus forming an approximate right triangle with the hypotenuse member and the upright member as shown in FIG. 6.

[0025] The supplemental support member 66 is shown in a completely unfolded position in FIGS. 4A, 4B and 4C; in a partially folded position in FIG. 5, and in a fully engaged position with the pocket 62 in FIG. 6. The supplemental support member 66 is shown in three different configurations in FIGS. 4A, 4B, and 4C—each corresponding to different dimensions of the containment device 20. The supplemental support members constructed according to a preferred embodiment of the invention is formed of a strap of hot-air weldable material having first 68, second 70 and third 72 pockets spaced coaxially along the length of the strap. Pockets 68, 70, and 72 are adapted to receive rigid rods forming upright 74, hypotenuse 76 and base 78 members, respectively. The space defined between each pocket is adapted to fold in a hinged manner (shown in FIGS. 5 and 6) thereby allowing the strap to fold into an approximate right triangle when the rods are inserted within respective pockets 62. The rods are preferably formed of nylon or fiberglass but can be any other suitable material.

[0026] FIG. 4A illustrates the dimensions for a supplemental support member 66 adapted to be used in a containment device 20 having a fifteen inch high wall with respective first, second and third pockets lengths of fifteen, nineteen and eleven inches. FIG. 4B illustrates the dimensions for a supplemental support member 66 adapted to be used in a containment device 20 having a twelve inch high wall with respective first, second and third pockets lengths of twelve, fifteen and nine inches. FIG. 4C illustrates the dimensions for a supplemental support member 66 adapted to be used in a containment device 20 having a ten inch high wall with respective first, second and third pockets lengths of ten, thirteen and seven inches. It is understood, of course, that other configurations are possible and that the invention is not to be limited to the dimensions shown or disclosed.

[0027] Turning last to FIGS. 7A and 7B, shown is one of a plurality of tie down straps 88 coupled to the skirt. The straps 88 include a tie down portion 90 extending beyond the length of the skirt 60 and includes reinforced holes 92, 94 formed therethrough adapted to receive anchoring members (not shown) for anchoring the straps to the ground and thereby preventing the containment device 20 from moving during entry of exit of vehicles into the interior of the device. In the embodiment shown, the straps 88 include a pocket 62 formed therein for receiving either the base member portion of the supplemental support member 66, or a separate rod to impart rigidity to the skirt. Spur grommets, such as those well known in the art are used to reinforce the holes 92, 94.

[0028] Finally, the containment device includes at least one hole 96 formed through a sidewall of the support wall 56 to allow the containment area to be drained when filled up with rainwater or the like. A removeable drain plug (not shown) can be used to selectively open the hole where the hole is positioned a desired distance up the face of the support wall 56.

[0029] Having described and illustrated the principles of the invention in a preferred embodiment thereof, it should be apparent that the invention can be modified in arrangement and detail without departing from such principles. For instance, the skirt 60 can extend completely around the periphery 24 of the containment device 20. We claim all modifications and variation coming within the spirit and scope of the following claims.