Title:
Prefabricated levee apparatus and system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A levee apparatus and system for impeding and controlling the flow of fluids, primarily the flow of water as experienced in a flood or storm surge consisting of a light weight concrete structure with reinforcing steel rebar depending on the application. It is constructed from prefabricated sections with the tongue and groove ends designed to fit together which, when used in conjunction with a rubber gasket, will produce a water tight seal. The structure would be hollow with an opening along the unprotected face to provide a location for the surge water to enter. The structure would have flap-gates on the protected side and on the unprotected side. This would allow flood waters from the protected side to push open the flap-gate and exit the protected side based on the pressure equalization of the flood waters. Once inside the structure any water would then drain from the structure through the flap-gate on the unprotected side when the surge water diminishes. The structure could be placed simply on top of the existing soils or anchored in place to prevent potential changes in alignment. Two main modifications to this design include utilization of a rubberized base which would allow the top portion of the structure to rise into position, and the adjustment of the flap-gate position to change the use of the structure from solely a flood protection system to a retention control system.



Inventors:
Phillips, Amanda (Mandeville, LA, US)
Application Number:
12/011421
Publication Date:
10/02/2008
Filing Date:
01/25/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E02B7/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MAYO-PINNOCK, TARA LEIGH
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
JUAN J. LIZARRAGA (NEW ORLEANS, LA, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A levee apparatus for impeding and controlling the flow of water as experienced in a flood or storm surge, comprising a plurality of adjacent prefabricated hollow sections each with a right end and a left end, each of said sections placed against an adjacent section with the right end of each of said sections sealed with the left end of the adjacent section to form a continuous watertight hollow structure and system for impeding and controlling the flow of water from an unprotected side to a protected side, each of said sections having a protected surface adjacent to the protected side, an unprotected surface adjacent to the unprotected side, a top side, a bottom side, a continuous grated opening above the horizontal surface on the unprotected surface to allow water from the unprotected side to enter the continuous hollow structure formed by said sections.

2. The levee apparatus of claim 1 further comprising a plurality of protected side flap-gates on the protected surface of each of said section to allow water flow from the protected side to the continuous hollow section, and a plurality of unprotected side flap-gates on the unprotected surface to allow water flow from the continuous hollow section to the unprotected side.

3. The levee apparatus of claim 1 wherein the right end and left end of each sections further comprise either a tongue or groove configuration for engagement with the respective tongue or groove configuration on the right end or left end of the adjacent section and said tongue or groove configuration further comprise a resilient gasket to create a watertight seal between adjacent sections.

4. The levee apparatus of claim 2 wherein the right end and left end of each sections further comprise either a tongue or groove configuration for engagement with the respective tongue or groove configuration on the right end or left end of the adjacent section and said tongue or groove configuration further comprise a resilient gasket to create a watertight seal between adjacent sections.

5. The levee apparatus of claim 1 further comprising an anchoring system to prevent movement of the sections.

6. The levee apparatus of claim 2 further comprising an anchoring system to prevent movement of the sections.

7. The levee apparatus of claim 3 further comprising an anchoring system to prevent movement of the sections.

8. The levee apparatus of claim 4 further comprising an anchoring system to prevent movement of the sections.

9. The levee apparatus of claim 1 wherein the bottom side further comprises a rubberized base.

10. The levee apparatus of claim 2 wherein the bottom side further comprises a rubberized base.

11. The levee apparatus of claim 1 wherein the sections are reinforced lightweight concrete.

12. The levee apparatus of claim 2 wherein the sections are reinforced lightweight concrete.

13. The levee apparatus of claim 3 wherein the sections are reinforced lightweight concrete.

14. The levee apparatus of claim 4 wherein the sections are reinforced lightweight concrete.

Description:

This application claims priority from U.S. Provisional application Ser. No. 60/898,853 (“the '853 application”) filed Feb. 1, 2007. The '853 application is incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

In general, the present invention relates to a levee apparatus and system for impeding and controlling the flow of fluids, primarily the flow of water as experienced in a flood or storm surge.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The currently available levee designs are limited. The main designs in use are earthen levees or piling supported panels. Earthen levees require large quantities of specific material types for which the source can be difficult to find near the areas of construction, thus in significantly increasing costs of the structure. These earthen levees also require large land acquisitions and can take multiple years for construction. Maintenance will also be required for the structure to continue providing consistent levels of protection. This maintenance is due to the consolidating nature of earthen materials both in the structure and surrounding the structure.

A piling supported design reduces the footprint of a levee, however the costs for construction increase due to the large equipment required for installation. The underlying soils can also affect the design by not providing enough friction to offset the uplifting forces. The friction needed increases pile lengths translating into additional construction and installation costs. A pile supported design needs protection at the base of the structure to minimize the potential scour during wave events. This type of structure can also fail when repeatedly hit by strong waves during storm events. The inadequacies of piling supported design have been made evident during recent catastrophic flooding in the Southern United States following severe hurricanes.

Both of these types of design limit the amount of water that can be removed from the protected side. They must be used in conjunction with mechanical pumps or have open areas of reduced protection to allow water from the protected side to pass to the unprotected side. The use of pumps becomes critical during storms as there must be personnel available to service the pumps during their pumping cycles and areas of diminished protection, reducing safety levels for surrounding property.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present inventive levee apparatus and system allows for the product to be manufactured at a location offsite and then transported to the construction site using traditional shipping methods. This process is faster and doesn't require the complications of specialized equipment. This design also addresses the need for water to be removed from the protected side without mechanical pumps, electricity, or personnel. It addresses the need for protection in areas of poor quality soils and incorporates the water that would surge from the unprotected side by providing a temporary storage area for the water during critical storm times.

An object of the invention is to provide a levee apparatus and system comprising a light weight concrete structure that can be reinforced with steel rebar depending on the application, which structure can be prefabricated in sections off-site and loaded on to trucks with minimal equipment. Placement of the structure can be achieved with the use of standard construction cranes depending of the level of flood or storm protection needed.

It is a further object of the invention that the prefabricated sections comprising the lightweight concrete structure be provided with interlocking tongue and groove ends designed to fit together which, when used in conjunction with a gasket of resilient material such as rubber or other elastomer, will produce a water tight seal between the prefabricated sections. The end joints could be made more water tight through the use of additional prefabricated panels that would attach to the structure on site.

It is a further object of the invention that the lightweight concrete structure would be hollow with a continuous opening along the unprotected face to provide a location for the flood or storm surge water to enter. As this water enters the lightweight concrete structure, the stability of the structure would increase due to the physical properties of water. The opening would follow the full length of the structure and would have grating to prevent animals, debris, or people from entering the structure. This grating could be a continuation of the reinforcement within the concrete or could be simple grates that are readily-accessible from current markets

It is a further object of the invention that the lightweight concrete structure would be provided with an anchoring system suitable to the application of the structure. The lightweight concrete structure could be placed simply on top of the existing soils or anchored in place to prevent potential changes in alignment. There are many anchoring systems on the market today, including but not limited to piles or anchor foundations that could be used with the structure. Also, the lightweight concrete structure can utilize a variety of configurations including through the center of inertia in the x or y planes, at both ends of the structure through the center, or on the protected and unprotected sides.

It is further intended that the lightweight concrete structure would have flap-gates on the protected side, opening to the inside of the structure, and flap gates on the unprotected side, opening to the outside of the structure. This would allow flood waters from the protected side to push open the flap-gate and exit the protected side based on the pressure equalization of the flood waters. Once inside the lightweight concrete structure any water would then drain from the structure through the flap-gate on the unprotected side when the flood or surge water diminishes.

An alternative embodiment of the invention includes utilization of a rubberized base which would allow the top portion of the lightweight concrete structure to rise into position providing additional levels of protection without affecting the aesthetics of the location or increasing the footprint of the structure. This design would also allow the lightweight concrete structure to provide a larger reservoir for surge waters.

A further embodiment would be alternative placement of the protected side flap gate. The flap-gate position can change the use of the lightweight concrete structure from solely a flood protection system to a retention control system. The retention control applications could be use for dredging material during marsh creation projects. The lightweight nature of the structure would be useful in areas which the soils cannot provide the same amount of stability for the retention levees as it can for the placement of the dredge material.

The physical design of the lightweight concrete structure can be altered to provide maximum scour protection from the unprotected side or to minimize the footprint. When compared to the existing systems, this lightweight concrete structure provides both function and stability without additional costs or land acquisition. It is a structure with unmatched versatility.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a prefabricated section of the lightweight concrete structure.

FIG. 2 is a cross section of the lightweight concrete structure.

FIG. 3 is a cross section of the tongue and groove ends of connected prefabricated sections.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of a prefabricated section 1 of the inventive lightweight concrete structure. The prefabricated section 1 has a protected surface 2 and an unprotected surface 3. This embodiment also depicts an optional horizontal surface 23. Also shown is a top side 5 and a bottom side 6. It is understood that the unprotected surface 3 is on the side 10 of the prefabricated section 1 which would receive or face flood or storm surge waters, and the protected surface 2 is on the side 12 of the prefabricated section 1 meant to be protected from flood or storm surge waters. It is also understood that the prefabricated section 1 is intended to be used with a multiplicity of prefabricated sections 1 connected end to end such that the left end 15 of a section 1 would connect to the right end 16 of an adjacent section 1 in continuous fashion for the length of the desired land to be protected from flood or storm surge waters.

Also depicted in FIG. 1 is a continuous opening 4 which would allow flood or storm surge waters to enter the inside 11 of each section 1 of the lightweight concrete structure. This continuous opening 4 is equipped with grating 7 to prevent the entry of debris or other unwanted objects. The grating 7 could also be integral to the reinforcement of each section 1.

In addition, FIG. 1 also depicts protected side flap gates 8 with hinges 22 and unprotected side flap gates 9 with hinges 21. As can be seen, the protected side flap gates 8 would only allow water to flow from the protected side 12 into the inside 11 of section 1, and the unprotected side flap gates 9 would only allow water to flow out from the inside 11 of section 1 to the unprotected side 10.

When flood or storm surge waters rise on the unprotected side 10 of the prefabricated sections 1 of the inventive lightweight concrete structure comprising a multiplicity of sections 1 connected end to end, the waters will flow through the continuous opening 4 into the inside 11 of each section 1 of the inventive lightweight concrete structure. When the flood or storm surge waters recede, the water in the inside 11 of each section 1 of the inventive lightweight concrete structure will flow out to the unprotected side 10. Any water which may have overtopped the structure onto the protected side 12 as well as accumulated rain water can flow into the lightweight concrete structure through the protected side flap gates 8.

FIG. 2 is a typical cross section of a prefabricated section 1 of the inventive lightweight concrete structure in place with the bottom side 6 on a soil mixing area 20. Also shown are typical anchor ties 13 and anchors 14 which may be used to assist in holding the sections 1 in place. Also depicted is a cutoff wall 24. It is not intended that the invention be limited to the anchoring arrangement shown in FIG. 2.

FIG. 3 is a typical cross section of the connection between prefabricated sections 1 and shows a tongue 18 on the left end 15 with a matching groove 19 on the right end 16 and recessed gaskets 17 to assist in sealing the connection between sections 1. It is not intended that the invention be limited to this type of sealing arrangement and other types of sealing between sections 1 would be suitable. Likewise the sections 1 may be held together with mechanical straps 25 rigidly affixed to the lightweight concrete structure.

The lightweight concrete structure could be placed simply on top of the existing soils or anchored in place to prevent potential changes in alignment. Alternative embodiments of this invention would include utilization of a rubberized base which would allow the top portion of the structure to rise into position, and the adjustment of the flap-gate position to change the use of the structure from solely a flood protection system to a retention control system.