Title:
Method of installing pipelines with minimal removal of soil
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A method of installing pipelines with minimal removal of soil. A first step involves loosening a ground surface repeatedly inserting and withdrawing a vibrating spade. A second step involves inserting a compactor into the loosened ground surface and compacting the soil to form a narrow open ditch, with minimal removal of soil A third step involves laying pipe in the narrow open ditch.. A fourth step involves closing in the open ditch by collapsing the walls of the ditch.



Inventors:
Cazes, Lyle (Grande Prairie, CA)
Application Number:
11/329946
Publication Date:
07/27/2006
Filing Date:
01/11/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
405/154.1, 405/180
International Classes:
E03F3/06; B63B35/03
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ANDRISH, SEAN D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DAVIS & BUJOLD, P.L.L.C. (CONCORD, NH, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A method of installing pipelines with minimal removal of soil, comprising the steps of: loosening a ground surface by repeatedly inserting and withdrawing a vibrating spade; inserting a compactor into the loosened ground surface and compacting the soil to form a narrow open ditch, with minimal soil being removed during formation of the narrow open ditch; laying pipe in the narrow open ditch; and closing in the narrow open ditch by collapsing the walls of the ditch.

2. The method as defined in claim 1, the open ditch being adapted to receive a pipe applicator and the pipe being laid into the open ditch using the pipe applicator.

3. The method as defined in claim 1, the compactor being a vibrating compactor.

4. The method as defined in claim 1, the narrow open ditch having a top and a bottom, the narrow open ditch being wider at the top than at the bottom.

5. The method as defined in claim 2, the step of collapsing the walls of the ditch being accomplished by a back filling implement associated with the pipe applicator, the back filling implement being adapted to follow the pipe applicator and cover with soil a pipe laid by the pipe applicator, the pipe applicator having a rearward projecting shroud that overlies the pipe to protect the pipe from soil dislodged by the back filling implement.

6. The method as defined in claim 5, the back filling implement having outwardly protruding wings which are adapted to cut into sides of the ditch and move a covering layer of soil from the sides adjacent the bottom of the ditch onto the shroud, the covering layer of soil sliding from the shroud onto the pipe as the pipe applicator advances along the ditch.

7. The method as defined in claim 6, the back filling implement having wings at more than one level.

8. The method as defined in claim 6, the back filling implement having trailing disks positioned at the height of the top of the ditch, that collapse soil from the top sides of the ditch onto the covering layer of soil dislodged by prior action of the protruding wings.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a method of installing pipelines in environmentally sensitive areas, with minimal removal of soil.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The current method of installing pipelines require a right of way approximately 15 meters (45 feet) wide. This right of way is first stripped of vegetation. A ditch 38 inches wide and six feet deep is then created. Soil removed to form the ditch creates a huge spill pile, which is positioned on one side of the ditch. In view of the size of right of way required, this method of installing pipelines invariably causes some damage to environmentally sensitive areas, such as farmlands, forest, and wetlands. However, there is always a danger of even greater damage being caused. Further damage is caused when a mixing of soils taken from different depths of the ditch occurs. Further damage is caused when not all of the spill pile can be placed back into the ditch, causing blockages to natural drainage. Further damage is caused when a settling occurs of soils used to fill in the ditch. As this results in a linear depression that alters natural drainage courses to follow the ditch, leading to erosion.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to the present invention there is provided a method of installing pipelines with minimal removal of soil. A first step involves loosening a ground surface by repeatedly inserting and withdrawing a vibrating spade. A second step involves inserting a compactor into the loosened ground surface and compacting the soil to form a narrow open ditch, with minimum removal of soil. A third step involves laying pipe in the narrow open ditch. A fourth step involves closing in the open ditch by collapsing the walls of the ditch.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

These and other features of the invention will become more apparent from the following description in which reference is made to the appended drawings, the drawings are for the purpose of illustration only and are not intended to in any way limit the scope of the invention to the particular embodiment or embodiments shown, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a side elevation view in section of a spade loosening a ground surface.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a spade used in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a side elevation view of a compactor forming a narrow open ditch.

FIG. 4 is a front elevation view of the compactor used in FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 is a top plan view of the compactor used in FIG. 3.

FIG. 6 is a side elevation view of the compactor used in FIG. 3.

FIG. 7 is a perspective view of a pipe being laid into a ditch using a pipe applicator.

FIG. 8 is a top plan view of the pipe applicator of FIG. 7 being moved by an excavator.

FIG. 9 is a side elevation view of a back filling implement filling a ditch.

FIG. 10 is a front elevation view of a back filling implement filling a ditch.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

The preferred method of installing pipelines with minimal removal of soil will now be described with reference to FIG. 1 through 10.

Referring to FIG. 1, a first step of the method involves loosening a ground surface 12, consisting of soil 14, by repeatedly inserting and withdrawing a vibrating spade 16. The structure of one form of vibrating spade suitable for use in achieving the loosening of the soil 14 is illustrated. Vibrating spade 16 has support 18 and blade 20, which is at an angle in relation to support 18. Blade 20 is approximately seven feet in length. Referring to FIG. 2, blade 20 has a top portion 22 and converges toward a tip 24. Tip 24 is equipped with a replaceable tooth 26. Stiffener bars 28 are provided to give support and rigidity to blade 20. A vibrator 30 is attached to support 18 for blade 20. Blade 20 operating with vibrator 30 serves to loosen ground surface 12, and locate large rocks, so that they can be removed, so as to avoid potential damage to pipe.

Referring to FIG. 3, a second step involves inserting a compactor 32 into loosened ground surface 12 and compacting soil 14 to form a narrow open ditch 34 adapted to receive a pipe applicator (see pipe applicator 48 illustrated in FIG. 8). It is to be noted that minimum soil and preferably no soil is removed. Referring to FIG. 4 through 6, there is illustrated one form of compactor suitable for use in compacting soil 14 to form narrow open ditch 34. The compactor illustrated is a vibrating compactor. Although a vibrating compactor is preferred, other forms of compactor could be used. Referring to FIG. 4, compactor 32 has a wedge shaped body 36 that converges downward from a relatively thick top portion 38 to a lower tip 40. A pipe-shaped cutting tool 39 may be included just above lower tip 40 to shape the bottom of the ditch to receive a pipe. Referring to FIG. 5, body 36 has a height of approximately 6 feet, so it is adapted to form a ditch six feet deep. Referring to FIG. 5 and 6, its length is longer than its depth. Body 36 has a leading edge 42, like a prow of a ship to facilitate movement through loosened ground surface 12 to form narrow open ditch 34. A machine is used to control and move compactor 32, but it is vibrator 44 that assists in reducing resistance by soil 14 to movement of body 36. After forming by compactor 32, narrow open ditch 34 has a top 35 and a bottom 37 and is wedge shaped; being wider at top 35 than at bottom 37. After compactor 32 has passed, small rocks have been pushed out of the way during formation of narrow open ditch 34.

Referring to FIG. 7, a third step involves laying pipe 46 in narrow open ditch 34. The preferred manner of laying pipe 46 involves the use of a pipe applicator 48. Pipe applicator 48 has an elongate body 50 with a leading end 52 and a trailing end 54. Body 50 is wedge shaped having a relative thick top 56 that converges to a relatively narrow bottom 58. A downward force 59 may be applied to top 56 to keep pipe applicator 48 in position. A pipe travel channel 60 is provided, with guide rollers 62, which serve to guide pipe 46 along channel 60. Pipe 46 enters body 50 at leading end 52 adjacent to top 56 and exits channel 60 from trailing end 54 adjacent to bottom 58. Stabilizer pads 64 extend laterally outwardly from body 50 near trailing end 54. Stabilizer pads 64 are intended to rest upon ground surface 12 on either side of narrow open ditch 34 and support pipe applicator 48. Stabilizer pads 64 support body 50 so that approximately 18 inches rides above narrow open ditch 34 and approximately five feet of body 50 extends down into narrow open ditch 34. Referring to FIG. 8, movement of pipe applicator 48 along narrow open ditch 34 is accomplished through the use of an excavator 66.

Referring to FIG. 9, a fourth step involves closing in narrow open ditch 34 by collapsing walls 68 of narrow open ditch 34. The step of collapsing walls 68 of narrow open ditch 34 is, preferably, accomplished by a back filling implement, generally indicated by reference numeral 70. Back filling implement 70 is associated with pipe applicator 48. It may be formed as part of trailing end 54 of pipe applicator 48, or it may be made as a completely separate implement that follows pipe applicator 48. In any event, back filling implement 70 is adapted to follow pipe applicator 48 and cover with soil 14, pipe 46 laid by pipe applicator 48. Pipe applicator 48 has a rearward projecting shroud 72 that overlies pipe 46 to protect pipe 46 from soil 14 dislodged by back filling implement 70. Back filling implement 70 can take various forms. Referring to FIG. 10, there is illustrated one form of back filling implement 70 suitable for use with this method. Back filling implement 70 has outwardly protruding wings 74. Wings 74 are adapted to cut into sides 68 of narrow open ditch 34 and move a covering layer 76 of soil 14 from sides 68 adjacent to bottom 37 of narrow open ditch 34 onto shroud 72. Covering layer 76 of soil 14 slides from shroud 72 onto pipe 46 as pipe applicator 48 advances along narrow open ditch 34. It is considered to be undesirable to have soil fall directly upon pipe 46, as it could damage the protective coating of pipe 46. The illustrated embodiment of back filling implement 70 has wings 74 at more than one level. The second set of wings, labelled 78, at a slightly higher level. Wings 78 follow behind wings 74, so as not to intermix the soil from the various levels. Referring again to FIG. 9, back filling implement 70 also has trailing disks 80 positioned even with the top 35 of narrow open ditch 34. Disks 80 serve to collapse soil 14 from sides 68 of narrow open ditch 34 adjacent top 35. Soil 14 dislodged by disks 80 falls onto covering layer 76 of soil 14 dislodged by prior action of protruding wings 74 and 78. One does not want soil 14 from sides 68 of narrow open ditch 34 falling directly upon pipe 46.

The method, as described above, provides the following advantages over the current method of installing a pipeline:

the width of the right of way is reduced;

the removal and disposal of existing vegetation from the right of way is reduced, due to the reduced width of the right of way;

installation can be performed all year round, whereas the current method can only be performed in wetlands when the ground is frozen;

loosening of the ground surface using the vibrating spade drastically reduces the horsepower required, as compared to caterpillar tractors with rippers currently employed;

spill piles are reduced to less than 10% of the current method, if not eliminated entirely;

problems with excess soil or soil depressions along the ditch are reduced, if not eliminated entirely;

mixing of soils is avoided;

potential damage to pipe during back-filling of the ditch is reduced, if not eliminated altogether;

soil disturbance is substantially reduced;

the cost of clean up and restoration is reduced due to the reduction in soil disturbance.

In this patent document, the word “comprising” is used in its non-limiting sense to mean that items following the word are included, but items not specifically mentioned are not excluded. A reference to an element by the indefinite article “a” does not exclude the possibility that more than one of the element is present, unless the context clearly requires that there be one and only one of the elements.

It will be apparent to one skilled in the art that modifications may be made to the illustrated embodiment without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as hereinafter defined in the Claims.