Title:
Environmental barrier device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An environmental barrier system that is supported relative to a base includes an environmental barrier device with at least a portion that is resiliently flexible. The environmental barrier device includes a first side and a bottom edge. The environmental barrier system also includes a bracket that couples the environmental barrier device to the base. The bracket includes a coupling member that couples to the base and a support member that is coupled to the coupling member. The support member includes a first portion that supports the first side of the environmental barrier device and a second portion that supports the bottom edge of the environmental barrier device.



Inventors:
D'andreta, Mark (Ortonville, MI, US)
Mini, Stephen (Richmond, MI, US)
Application Number:
12/077959
Publication Date:
07/31/2008
Filing Date:
03/20/2008
Assignee:
SILTSHIELD, LLC
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E02D17/20
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ANDRISH, SEAN D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HARNESS DICKEY (TROY) (Troy, MI, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An environmental barrier system that is supported relative to a base, the environmental barrier system comprising: an environmental barrier device with at least a portion that is resiliently flexible, the environmental barrier device including a first side and a bottom edge; and a bracket that couples the environmental barrier device to the base, the bracket including a coupling member that couples to the base and a support member that is coupled to the coupling member, the support member including a first portion that supports the first side of the environmental barrier device and a second portion that supports the bottom edge of the environmental barrier device.

2. The environmental barrier system of claim 1, wherein the coupling member defines a hanger through which a fastener extends to couple the coupling member to the base.

3. The environmental barrier system of claim 2, wherein the fastener includes an enlarged surface that abuts against the coupling member adjacent the hanger.

4. The environmental barrier system of claim 1, wherein the coupling member is insertable into the base to couple to the base.

5. The environmental barrier system of claim 4, wherein the coupling member is disposed at a positive angle relative to the support member so as to extend into and couple to the base.

6. The environmental barrier system of claim 1, wherein the environmental barrier device includes a second side opposite to the first side, and wherein the support member further includes a third portion that supports the second side of the environmental barrier device.

7. The environmental barrier system of claim 1, wherein the first portion of the support member includes an end that is angled so as to be disposed at a positive angle away from the first side of the environmental barrier device.

8. The environmental barrier system of claim 1, wherein the bracket includes a first support member and a second support member, wherein the bottom edge of the environmental barrier device defines an axis, and wherein the first portion of the first support member and the first portion of the second support member extend away from each other and are each disposed at a positive acute angle with respect to the axis.

9. The environmental barrier system of claim 1, wherein the bracket includes a first support member and a second support member, and wherein the coupling member is coupled to and disposed between the first support member and the second support member.

10. The environmental barrier system of claim 1, wherein the support member and the coupling member are integrally coupled.

11. A method of coupling an environmental barrier device to a base, the method comprising: providing an environmental barrier device with at least a portion that is resiliently flexible; providing a bracket having a coupling member and a support member, the support member including a first portion and a second portion; coupling the coupling member to the base; supporting the environmental barrier device on the bracket such that the first portion of the support member supports a first side of the environmental barrier device and the second portion of the support member supports a bottom edge of the environmental barrier device.

12. The method of claim 11, wherein coupling the coupling member to the base comprises inserting a fastener with an enlarged surface into a hanger defined by the coupling member such that the coupling member is disposed between the enlarged surface and the base.

13. The method of claim 11, wherein coupling the coupling member to the base comprises embedding the coupling member in the base.

14. The method of claim 11, wherein providing the bracket comprises bending an elongate member so as to define the coupling member and the support member.

15. The method of claim 11, wherein the environmental barrier device includes an aperture and the base defines a top surface, and wherein supporting the environmental barrier device on the bracket comprises supporting the environmental barrier device on the bracket such that the aperture is disposed above the top surface of the base.

16. The method of claim 11, wherein supporting the environmental barrier device on the bracket further comprises supporting the environmental barrier device on the bracket such that a third portion of the support member supports a second side of the environmental barrier device, the second side of the environmental barrier device being opposite to the first side of the environmental barrier device.

17. The method of claim 11, wherein supporting the environmental barrier device on the bracket further comprises supporting the environmental barrier device between the support member and the base.

18. The method of claim 11, wherein the base includes an upright surface, wherein coupling the coupling member to the base comprises coupling the coupling member to the upright surface of the base, and wherein supporting the environmental barrier device on the bracket comprises supporting the environmental barrier device upright adjacent the upright surface of the base.

19. The method of claim 11, further comprising positionally adjusting the environmental barrier device relative to the base after supporting the environmental barrier device on the bracket.

20. An environmental barrier system that is supported relative to a base, the environmental barrier system comprising: an environmental barrier device with at least a portion that is resiliently flexible, the environmental barrier device including a first side, a second side opposite to the first side, and a bottom edge; and a bracket comprising: a first support member having a first portion, a second portion, and a third portion, the first portion supporting the first side of the environmental barrier device, the second portion supporting the bottom edge of the environmental barrier device, and the third portion supporting the second side of the environmental barrier device, the first portion including an end that is disposed away from the environmental barrier device; a second support member having a first portion, a second portion, and a third portion, the first portion supporting the first side of the environmental barrier device, the second portion supporting the bottom edge of the environmental barrier device, and the third portion supporting the second side of the environmental barrier device, the first portion including an end that is disposed away from the environmental barrier device; and a coupling member that couples to the base, the coupling member integrally coupled to the third portion of the first support member and the third portion of the second support member so as to be disposed between the first support member and the second support member.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/006,857, filed Jan. 7, 2008, which is a continuation of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/556,401, filed Nov. 3, 2006, which claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application No. 60/792,382, filed Apr. 14, 2006, each of which is expressly incorporated by reference in its entirety.

INTRODUCTION

The present teachings generally relate to environmental barrier devices. More particularly, the present teachings relate to such devices for reducing soil erosion at construction sites, for example, and a method of reducing soil erosion at construction sites.

Exposed soil areas are subject to water erosion and sediment movement during and after storm water events. Materials and methods have been used to eliminate soil loss or movement across construction sites from such events. A silt fence is a temporary barrier used to intercept sediment-laden runoff from small areas. Silt fences are effective in trapping sediment from all activities that involve soil disturbance. They can be used on adjacent properties, adjacent bodies of water, large sloping areas, near streams and waterways, near surface drainage ways and other areas to prevent water erosion and sediment movement.

A conventional silt fence includes a fabric portion and a plurality of stakes. The fabric portion extends between the stakes. The stakes serve to anchor and support the fabric portion. The fabric functions to prevent unwanted erosion and sediment movement while permitting the passage of rainwater.

While conventional silt fences have proven to be satisfactory for their intended use of preventing erosion and sediment movement, they are all associated with drawbacks and limitations. In this regard, construction vehicles may easily knock over a conventional silt fence and render it inoperative for its intended use. Furthermore, installation of conventional silt fences can be inconvenient and time consuming. Accordingly, it remains a need in the pertinent art to provide an environmental barrier which prevents water erosion and sediment movement while overcoming the drawbacks and limitations associated with known structures, including but not limited to those discussed above.

SUMMARY

An environmental barrier system is disclosed that is supported relative to a base. The system includes an environmental barrier device with at least a portion that is resiliently flexible. The environmental barrier device includes a first side and a bottom edge. The environmental barrier system also includes a bracket that couples the environmental barrier device to the base. The bracket includes a coupling member that couples to the base and a support member that is coupled to the coupling member. The support member includes a first portion that supports the first side of the environmental barrier device and a second portion that supports the bottom edge of the environmental barrier device.

A method of coupling an environmental barrier device to a base is also disclosed. The method includes providing an environmental barrier device with at least a portion that is resiliently flexible. The method also includes providing a bracket having a coupling member and a support member. The support member includes a first portion and a second portion. The method further includes coupling the coupling member to the base and supporting the environmental barrier device on the bracket such that the first portion of the support member supports a first side of the environmental barrier device and the second portion of the support member supports a bottom edge of the environmental barrier device.

In still another aspect, an environmental barrier system that is supported relative to a base is disclosed. The system includes an environmental barrier device with at least a portion that is resiliently flexible. The environmental barrier device includes a first side, a second side opposite to the first side, and a bottom edge. The system also includes a bracket with a first support member having a first portion, a second portion, and a third portion. The first portion supports the first side of the environmental barrier device, and the second portion supports the bottom edge of the environmental barrier device. The third portion supports the second side of the environmental barrier device, and the first portion includes an end that is disposed away from the environmental barrier device. The bracket also includes a second support member having a first portion, a second portion, and a third portion. The first portion supports the first side of the environmental barrier device, and the second portion supports the bottom edge of the environmental barrier device. The third portion supports the second side of the environmental barrier device, and the first portion includes an end that is disposed away from the environmental barrier device. Furthermore, the bracket includes a coupling member that couples to the base. The coupling member is integrally coupled to the third portion of the first support member and the third portion of the second support member so as to be disposed between the first support member and the second support member.

Further areas of applicability of the present teachings will become apparent from the description and appended claims provided hereinafter. It should be understood that the detailed description and specific examples, while indicating the various examples of the present teachings, are intended for purposes of illustration only and are not intended to limit the scope of the teachings.

DRAWINGS

The present disclosure will become more fully understood from the detailed description and the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is an environmental view illustrating an environmental barrier device in accordance with the present teachings, the environmental barrier device shown operatively installed at a construction site, a construction vehicle shown crossing the environmental barrier device and thereby applying a load to the environmental device to deflect it from a normally upright orientation.

FIG. 2 is a view of a portion of FIG. 1 illustrating the environmental barrier device after the construction vehicle has passed, the environmental barrier device resiliently returning to a generally vertical orientation after the load of the vehicle has been removed.

FIG. 3 is a top view of the environmental barrier device in accordance with the present teachings and as shown installed in FIG. 1, the environmental barrier device shown in cross section.

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional view taken along the line 4-4 of FIG. 3.

FIG. 5 is an enlarged front view of an environmental barrier device in accordance with the present teachings, the environmental barrier device shown operatively associated with a mounting bracket suitable for temporarily securing the environmental barrier device to a curb, for example.

FIG. 6 is an enlarged rear view of an environmental barrier device in accordance with the present teachings, the environmental barrier device shown operatively associated with a mounting bracket suitable for temporarily securing the environmental barrier device to a curb, for example.

FIG. 7 is an exploded perspective view of a mounting bracket shown in association with a curb, for example.

FIG. 8 is an exploded perspective view of another embodiment of the mounting bracket shown in association with a curb, for example.

FIG. 9 is a perspective view of an environmental barrier device shown supported by a mounting bracket for temporarily securing the environmental barrier device to a curb, for example.

DESCRIPTION OF VARIOUS ASPECTS

The following description of the present teachings is merely exemplary in nature and is in no way intended to limit the disclosure, its application, or uses.

With general reference to the drawings, an environmental barrier device constructed in accordance with the teachings of the present disclosure is illustrated and generally identified at reference character 10. The environmental barrier device may be used at a construction site, for example. In this regard, the environmental barrier device 10 may be used to reduce soil erosion. In one application, the environmental barrier device 10 may be positioned proximate a curb 12 (as shown in FIGS. 1 and 2) or other construction site boundary. Alternatively, the environmental barrier device 10 may be positioned in a trench 14 formed in undisturbed soil 16. The trench 14 may be back-filled with disturbed soil 18.

The environmental barrier device 10 may be oriented in a generally vertical plane and define a barrier for reducing soil erosion. The environmental barrier device 10 may function to prevent the passage of silt from a construction site side to a street side, for example. Additionally, the environmental barrier device 10 may provide for the passage of water (e.g., rain water) from the construction site side to the street side.

The environmental barrier device 10 may be anchored in the ground and otherwise be a self-standing structure. In this regard, it may not be necessary to support the environmental barrier device 10 with stakes or similar structure conventionally used to support a silt fence. In certain applications, the environmental barrier device 10 may be anchored approximately eight inches below ground level.

The environmental barrier device 10 may be a resilient structure that is deflectable under load and which resiliently returns to a generally vertical orientation after the load is removed. The environmental view of FIG. 1 illustrates a portion of the environmental barrier device 10 deflected from the generally vertical orientation by the passage of a construction vehicle 20. In FIG. 2, the construction vehicle 20 has passed and the deflected portion of the environmental barrier device 10 automatically and resiliently returns to its generally vertical orientation.

The environmental barrier device 10 includes a flexible member 22 having a length and a height. As will be addressed below, the length may be substantially greater than the height. The environmental barrier device 10 may additionally include means for permitting the passage of rain water through the flexible member 22. The environmental barrier device 10 may further include means for preventing the passage of soil through the flexible member 22.

The flexible member 22 may include an upper portion 22A and a lower portion 22B. As will be discussed further below, the lower portion 22B is intended to be buried or otherwise anchored with respect to the ground. The upper portion 22A is intended to upwardly extend from the ground. In certain applications, the lower portion 22B need not have the same flexibility nor resiliency of the upper portion 22A.

The flexible member 22 of the environmental barrier device 10 may be a composite structure having a plurality of components or layers. The flexible member 22 may generally include a first member or first layer 24 and a second member or second layer 26. The first member 24 may be constructed of a sheet material. The first member 24 may have a memory retaining shape and may provide the flexible member 22 with inherent resiliency to return to the generally vertical orientation or upright position.

The first member 24 may be constructed from a polyolefin foam sheet. One suitable material is commercially available under the registered trademark Volara® from Sekisui America Corporation. Other materials having suitable resiliency, strength and/or durability characteristics may be alternatively utilized.

The means for permitting the passage of rain water may include a plurality of holes or apertures 28 formed in the first member 24. The holes 28 may be round, oval, any other suitable shape or combinations of shapes to permit the passage of rain water through the first member 24. It will be appreciated that the location of the holes 28, the hole pattern, the size of the holes 28 and the number of holes 28 may be varied from application to application within the scope of the present teachings. Alternative to holes 28, the means for permitting the passage of rain water may comprise a sheet material that allows for the passage of rain water but prevents the passage of soil.

The means for preventing the passage of soil through the flexible member 22 may include a second member or second layer 26. The second member 26 may be a filter member. The second member 26 may be positioned adjacent one of the sides of the first member 24 so as to cover the holes 28. The second member 26 may be constructed of a second sheet material. The second member 26 may be flexible and may define a filter media. The second member 26 may allow the passage of water and preclude the passage of dirt and silt. In one application, the second member 26 may be a nylon mesh. Alternatively, any other material suitable for filtering soil from rain water may be employed. In certain applications, the means for filtering may simply be the holes 28 which are sized and provided in such number to provide the necessary filtering. The second member 26 may be secured to the first member 24. In this regard, the second member 26 may be glued or laminated to the first member 24. Alternatively, the second member 26 may be stitched or otherwise suitably secured to the first member 24.

The flexible member 22 may additionally include a third member or third layer 30. As with the first member 24, the third member 30 may be constructed of a sheet material and may have a memory retaining shape. Again, while other materials may be employed, the third member 30 may be constructed of a polyolefin foam sheet. One suitable material is commercially available under the registered trademark Volora®. In a manner similar to the first member 24, the third member 30 may include a plurality of holes or apertures. The second member 26 may be disposed between the first member 24 and the third member 30. The third member 30 may be secured to the first member 24 and/or the second member 26 by adhesive, lamination, stretching or any other suitable manner.

The flexible member 22 of the environmental barrier device 10 may be made in various lengths and heights. In one application, the flexible member 22 may be formed to have a length from approximately 50 feet to approximately 200 feet. The environmental barrier device 10 may be formed to have a height from approximately 20 inches to approximately 36 inches. In certain applications, it may be desirable to cut preformed sections to desired lengths.

Separate lengths of the flexible member 22 may be joined with mechanical fasteners 32. The flexible member 22 may be preformed with holes 34 (see FIG. 5, for example) for receiving the mechanical fasteners 32. The fasteners 32 may be used for splicing or repairs. One suitable mechanical fastener 32 is a two-piece fastener commercially available from Micro Plastics, Inc. of Flippin, Ark., as Part No. 27QB701000B. Other manners of coupling distinct lengths of the flexible member 22, including non-mechanical manners of fastening, may be employed within the scope of the present teachings.

In use, the lower portion 22B of the flexible member 22 may be buried or otherwise anchored relative to the ground. For example, approximately eight inches of the flexible member 22 may be set below grade for anchoring. Backfilling may be provided to support the flexible member 22.

In certain applications, it may be desirable to use the flexible member 22 with a bracket 40. The bracket 40 may be generally W-shaped and may engage the lower portion 22B of the flexible member 22. The bracket 40 may engage a fastener 42 (see FIG. 5). In this regard, fasteners 42 may be mounted in a curb 12 and the bracket 40 may be used for temporarily securing the flexile member 22 relative to the curb 12 prior to the backfilling soil adjacent the curb 12.

More specifically, referring to FIGS. 5-7, the bracket 40 generally includes a coupling member 44, a first support member 46a, and a second support member 46b. As will be described in greater detail below, the coupling member 44 couples to a base, such as a curb 12, and the first and second support members 46a, 46b support the environmental barrier device 10 such that the bracket 40 couples the environmental barrier device 10 to the curb 12.

It will also be appreciated that the bracket 40 could include any number (including one) of support members 46a, 46b. It will also be appreciated that the bracket 40 could couple the environmental barrier device 10 to any suitable base other than a curb 12, such as an upright surface of a trench that has been dug into the earth.

In some embodiments, the coupling member 44 and the support members 46a, 46b are integrally coupled. For instance, the bracket 40 can be made from an elongate member such as a wire, and the bracket 40 can be made by bending the elongate member so as to define the coupling member 44 and the support members 46a, 46b.

Moreover, in some embodiments, the coupling member 44 is disposed between and coupled to the first support member 46a and the second support member 46b. Each support member 46a, 46b can include a first portion 48, a second portion 50 and a third portion 52. In some embodiments, the first and third portions 48, 52 extend in a generally upright or vertical direction, and the second portion 50 extends in a generally horizontal direction to connect the respective lower ends of the first and third portions 48, 52. As such, the first and third portions 48, 52 are disposed at a distance relative to each other in a generally horizontal direction. In other words, the first, second and third portions 48, 50, 52 generally define a retaining space 56 therebetween. Also, the first portion 48 includes an end 54 which is upturned and angled so as to extend in a generally downward direction.

Moreover, the coupling member 44 can include a first portion 58 and a second portion 60. The first portion 58 is coupled to the third portion 52 of the first support member 46a, and the second portion 60 is coupled to the third portion 52 of the second support member 46b. In some embodiments, the first and second portions 58, 60 are bent downward and disposed at a relatively small distance relative to each other so as to define a hanger 62 therebetween.

In some embodiments, the bracket 40 is coupled to the curb 12 using a fastener 42. The fastener 42 can be of any suitable type, and can extend through the hanger 62 of the coupling member 44 in order to couple the bracket 40 to the curb 12. It will be appreciated that the fastener 42 can be of any suitable type, such as a masonry screw. Also, the fastener 42 can include a washer 64 with an enlarged surface 66. The surface area of the enlarged surface 66 allows the enlarged surface 66 to abut against the hanger 62 of the coupling member 44. As such, the coupling member 44 is disposed between the enlarged surface 66 of the fastener 42 and the curb 12 so as to be securely coupled thereto.

In some embodiments, a plurality of brackets 40 are coupled to the curb 12 in the manner described above. In some embodiments, the brackets 40 are disposed in spaced relationship to each other longitudinally along the curb 12. Furthermore, in some embodiments, the brackets 40 are coupled to the curb 12 at a substantially consistent vertical position on an upright surface 70 of the curb 12.

Next, the lower portion 22B of the environmental barrier device 10 is positioned in the space 56 defined by the support members 46a, 46b of each bracket 40. As such, the environmental barrier device 10 is supported by the brackets 40 in a generally upright position generally parallel to the upright surface 70 of the curb 12. Also, in some embodiments, the environmental barrier device 10 is generally suspended by the brackets 40 so as to hang from the upright surface 70 in a generally upright position.

More specifically, in some embodiments, the environmental barrier device 10 is supported by the brackets 40 such that a first side 72 of the device 10 is supported by and adjacent to the first portion 48 of the support members 46a, 46b, a second side 74 of the device 10 (i.e., the side opposite the first side 72) is supported by and adjacent to the third portion 52 of the support members 46a, 46b, and a bottom edge 76 of the device 10 is supported by and adjacent to the second portion 50 of the support members 46a, 46b. Also, the device 10 is supported between the first portion 48 of each support member 46a, 46b and the upright surface 70 of the curb 12. As such, the first portion 48 of each support member 46a, 46b holds the device 10 against the upright surface 70 of the curb 12 so as to maintain the device 10 in a generally upright position. Then, soil can be backfilled to further secure device 10 in the upright position.

It will be appreciated that the ends 54 are angled so as to be disposed in a positive angle α away from the first side 72 of the device 10 (FIG. 9). As such, the ends 54 are unlikely to snag against the device 10.

Furthermore, it will be appreciated that the first portion 48 of the first support member 46a and the first portion 48 of the second support member 46b extend away from each other and are each disposed at a positive acute angle α′ with respect to the axis of the bottom edge 76 of the device 10 (FIG. 9). As such, the support members 46a, 46b span a greater area of the device 10 for improved support thereof.

In some embodiments, the brackets 40 are installed on the upright surface 70 such that the apertures or holes 28 of the device 10 are disposed above (i.e., exposed above) a top surface 80 of the curb 12. As such, the holes 28 are able to filter any water or run-off that passes through the device 10. More specifically, in some embodiments, the brackets 40 are installed such that the second portion 50 of the support members 46a, 46b are disposed approximately 6 to 6.5 inches below the top surface 80 of the curb 12 to ensure that the holes 28 are disposed above and exposed above the top surface 80. Furthermore, in some embodiments, once the brackets 40 are coupled to the curb 12 and the device 10 is provided on the brackets 40, the device 10 is positionally adjusted relative to the curb 12 (e.g., either up or down along the upright surface 70) such that the holes 28 are disposed above and exposed from the curb 12. In some embodiments, the brackets 40 are bent while coupled to the curb 12 so as to move the device 10 up or down relative to the curb 12.

Referring now to FIG. 8, another embodiment of the bracket 40′ will now be discussed. In this embodiment, the bracket 40′ includes a coupling member 44′, a first support member 46a′, and a second support member 46b′. The first and second support members 46a′, 46b′ are substantially similar to the embodiment described above in relation to FIG. 7. However, a plane defined by the coupling member 44′ is disposed at a positive angle α″ relative to a plane defined by the third portion 52′ of each of the first and second support members 46a′, 46b′. In some embodiments, the coupling member 44′ is disposed at approximately a right-angle relative to the third portions 52′. As such, the coupling member 44′ is insertable into the upright face 70 of the curb 12 to thereby couple the bracket 40′ to the curb 12. In other words, in order to couple the bracket 40′ to the curb 12 the coupling member 44′ is inserted into and extends into the upright face 70 of the curb 12. Once the brackets 40′ are coupled to the curb 12, the environmental barrier device 10 is supported on the brackets 40′ similar to the embodiments described above and represented in FIG. 9.

In some embodiments, the bracket 40′ represented in FIG. 8 is used in association with a curb 12 that has been freshly poured and is still wet, and the bracket 40 represented in FIG. 7 is used in association with a curb 12 that has sufficiently dried enough to support the fastener 42.

It will now be appreciated that an environmental barrier device 10 is provided that facilitates the entry and egress of construction vehicles about a construction site. A device 10 is shown and described that may be provided in a roll to facilitate shipping and handling. Furthermore, the bracket 40, 40′ provides a convenient and relatively quick means of installing and supporting the environmental barrier device 10 in a generally upright position. Additionally, the bracket 40, 40′ securely supports the environmental barrier device 10 in a generally upright position. Upon completion of construction at a construction site, the environmental barrier device 10 and brackets 40, 40′ may be removed for subsequent re-use.

The above description is merely exemplary in nature and, thus, variations that do not depart from the gist of the disclosure are intended to be within the scope of the disclosure. Such variations are not to be regarded as a departure from the spirit and scope of the disclosure.