Title:
ALTERNATIVE DAILY COVER SYSTEM WITH RE-USABLE PANELS AND METHOD FOR USING SAME
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A system of panels for use in covering an active face of an operational landfill, in order to prevent and/or minimize litter, odors, leachate production, fires, and the prevalence of flies and vectors. Each panel comprises a plate; one or more brackets; and optionally, a flap. The brackets are adapted to engage with the blade of a compactor or other type of heavy equipment. The panels are moved to and from the active face of an operational landfill using the compactor. The panels are durable and fireproof, and can be transported in a variety of weather conditions. Transporting the panels to and from the active area is easy and efficient as compared with prior art methods.



Inventors:
Renaud, Brett (Revelstoke, CA)
Renaud, Scott (Revelstoke, CA)
Application Number:
12/238272
Publication Date:
03/25/2010
Filing Date:
09/25/2008
Assignee:
0818664 BC Ltd. (Revelstoke, CA)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
405/284
International Classes:
E02D31/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
FIORELLO, BENJAMIN F
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
OYEN, WIGGS, GREEN & MUTALA LLP (VANCOUVER, BC, CA)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A panel for covering a portion of the active face of an operational landfill, comprising: (a) a plate having a top face and a bottom face; and (b) at least one bracket attached to said top face of said plate, wherein said bracket is adapted to be engaged by a loading means, allowing said panel to be picked up and transported by said loading means for placement onto said active face.

2. The panel of claim 1 wherein said loading means is a compactor.

3. The panel of claim 1 wherein said plate has a front edge, a rear edge, and two side edges.

4. The panel of claim 3 wherein said rear edge and said front edge are parallel.

5. The panel of claim 4 wherein said panel is one of rectangular, trapezoidal, or rhombus-shaped.

6. The panel of claim 3 wherein said panel further comprises a flap attached to said plate near said front edge.

7. The panel of claim 3 wherein said panel further comprises a flap attached to said plate near said side edge.

8. The panel of claim 6 wherein said panel further comprises a flap attached to said plate near said side edge.

9. The panel of claim 6 wherein said flap covers the entire length of said front edge.

10. The panel of claim 1 wherein said panel has two brackets.

11. The panel of claim 10 wherein each bracket comprises an arm and an elbow.

12. The panel of claim 10 wherein said two brackets are equidistant from said two side edges.

13. The panel of claim 1 wherein said plate is made from steel.

14. The panel of claim 6 wherein said flap is made from rubber.

15. The panel of claim 14 wherein said flap is made from rubber conveyor belting.

16. An alternate daily cover system for covering at least a portion of the active face of an operational landfill comprising: (a) a plurality of panels, each panel having: a plate with a top face and a bottom face and a front edge, a rear edge, and two side edges; and at least one bracket attached to the top face of said plate; and (b) a means for loading said panels onto said active area; wherein said bracket is adapted to engage with said loading means, allowing said panels to thereby be picked up by said loading means from a storage location, transported by said loading means to said active face, and removably deposited onto said active face by said loading means.

17. The system of claim 16 wherein said loading means is a compactor.

18. The system of claim 16 wherein said panel has two brackets.

19. The system of claim 16 wherein said panels further comprise a flap; and wherein said flap is attached to each one of said plates near said front edge.

20. The system of claim 19 wherein said flap covers the entire length of said front edge.

21. The system of claim 20 wherein said panels are placed by said loading means in a shingle-like arrangement, at least some panels overlapping one or more other panels when deposited into position on said active face.

22. The system of claim 21 wherein the flap of at least one panel overlaps an edge of an adjacent panel.

23. The system of claim 18 wherein said two brackets are equidistant from said two side edges and wherein each one of said brackets comprises an arm and an elbow.

24. The system of claim 15 wherein said plate is made from steel.

25. The system of claim 19 wherein said flap is made from rubber.

26. The system of claim 25 wherein said flap is made from rubber conveyor belting.

27. A method of covering at least a portion of the active face of an operational landfill comprising the steps of: (a) providing a plurality of panels at a storage location, each panel having: a plate with a top face and a bottom face and a front edge, a rear edge, and two side edges; and at least one bracket, each bracket being attached to the top face of said plate and each bracket having an arm and an elbow; (b) providing a loading means having a blade; (c) in respect of each one of one or more of said plurality of panels at the storage location, engaging the bracket of the panel by sliding the blade of said loading means on or above the top face of said plate and underneath the arm of said bracket; (d) lifting the blade of said loading means, thereby lifting the panel to which the engaged bracket is attached; (e) transporting said panel by moving said loading means from said storage location to a desired location at the active face of a the operational landfill; (f) lowering the blade of said loading means so that the bottom face of said plate is placed against the surface of the active face and the panel rests on the active area; and (g) retracting the blade from the panel so that the blade and bracket disengage from one another.

28. The method of claim 27, repeating steps (a) to (g) with one or more of said panels at said storage location, wherein each successive plate is placed by said loading means in shingle-like arrangement with a previously-placed panel, overlapping said previously-placed panel.

29. The method of claim 28, repeating steps (a) to (g) with more of said panels until the active face is covered.

Description:

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention pertains to a system of panels for temporarily covering the active area of an operational landfill, in order to prevent and/or minimize litter, odors, leachate production, fires, and the prevalence of flies and vectors.

BACKGROUND

Many jurisdictions require that a cover be placed on the “active face” of an operational landfill on a daily basis. This is done for many reasons, including: to prevent wind-blown litter, to minimize odors and leachate production, and to reduce the risk of landfill fires. The cover also prevents flies from laying eggs in the refuse and isolates the refuse from vectors such as birds, rodents and small carnivores.

Historically, mineral soil has been used for daily cover. Typically, regulations require that the active face be covered with 150 mm (6″) of soil at the end of each working day. For small landfills, placement of soil cover often results in waste to cover ratios (on a volume basis) that are 2:1 or less. Some landfills have ratios of less than 1:1. This means that more soil cover is going into the landfill than refuse, wasting valuable “air space” (space that could otherwise be filled with refuse).

Other problems with using soil as the cover include the cost of replacing the soil daily. Often contractors or landfill operators will spend more than 30 minutes each day replacing soil cover. As well, the “borrow pits” that are dug in order to extract the soil increase the size of the disturbed footprint of a landfill. This ultimately increases the costs of land reclamation during closure of the landfill.

Over the past 15 years, many landfill operators have used some form of alternate daily cover (ADC). The most common form of ADC is a re-usable tarp. Although the use of reusable tarps meets a number of operational objectives, it presents a number of problems. Tarps can get caught on refuse and rip easily. Typically, tarps last less than one year due to damage. Birds, particularly ravens, can peck holes and pull refuse through many of the tarp materials. Further, after heavy snow fall, tarps can be difficult to remove. In heavy winds they can be difficult to place and can easily be blown off the active face of the landfill.

Other ADC systems have been developed, but each presents its own problems. For convenience, non-reusable plastic tarps have been introduced. For example, one US patent which describes a complicated system for deploying a “film” as an ADC tarp is U.S. Pat. No. 6,558,080, which issued on 6 May, 2003 to Kozak. However, these systems present the issues of high cost, wasting of non-renewable resources, and jamming of the soil cover ballast deployment system that is used to weight down the ADC. Spray-on systems have been used to facilitate application, but these are generally less effective at controlling vectors and at reducing risk of fire. A semi-rigid reusable system comprised of plastic pipes has been introduced in at least one landfill. However, this system apparently presents challenges with deployment and manufacture of the pipes.

There is still a need to provide an ADC system that fulfills the objectives of litter and fire prevention, erosion and leachate minimization, and fly and vector diversion without presenting the problems of the prior art ADC systems.

The foregoing examples of the related art and limitations related thereto are intended to be illustrative and not exclusive. Other limitations of the related art will become apparent to those of skill in the art upon a reading of the specification and a study of the drawings.

SUMMARY

The following embodiments and aspects thereof are described and illustrated in conjunction with systems, tools and methods which are meant to be exemplary and illustrative, not limiting in scope. In various embodiments, one or more of the above-described problems have been reduced or eliminated, while other embodiments are directed to other improvements.

The invention provides an alternate daily cover (ADC) system for covering the active face of an operational landfill. The ADC system provides a series of panels that are placed on the landfill active face, in what might be conveniently called “shingle” fashion. Although as many panels are used as necessary depending on the area of the active face, typically four to eight panels might be required.

Each panel comprises a plate, brackets and optionally, one or more flaps. The brackets are attached to the top face of the plate. These brackets may have arms which can be engaged by the blade of a compactor, loader or other machinery to lift and hold the panel while it is being transported by the compactor.

To engage and transport a panel, the compactor operator positions the bucket of the compactor so that the blade of the bucket slides in between the plate and the bracket arms. The bucket is then lifted, bringing the engaged panel with it, and moved to a desired portion of the active face of the operational landfill. Once the compactor has reached the space on the active face of the operational landfill where the panel is to be deployed, the bucket is lowered so that the panel rests on the surface of the active face. The bucket is then retracted, which disengages the panel from the bucket. These steps are repeated with other panels until the active area of the operational landfill is covered with panels. Each panel tends to overlap the edge of another, providing a generally gap-free cover over the active face.

This ADC system of the present invention is advantageous over the prior art in that the panels are: easy to engage and transport; are made from durable materials and are therefore long-lasting; and, can be transported and manoeuvered in a variety of weather conditions.

In addition to the exemplary aspects and embodiments described above, further aspects and embodiments will become apparent by reference to the drawings and by study of the following detailed description.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Exemplary embodiments are illustrated in referenced figures of the drawings. It is intended that the embodiments and figures disclosed herein are to be considered illustrative rather than restrictive.

FIG. 1 is a side schematic view of a compactor spreading and compacting waste on the active face of an operational landfill.

FIGS. 2a and 2b are schematic perspective views of prior art ADC systems.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a panel according to the invention.

FIGS. 4a and 4b are perspective views of a panel being engaged and carried by a compactor.

FIG. 5 is a schematic perspective view of an operational landfill covered by ADC system according to the invention.

FIG. 6 is a top schematic view of a series of panels used in accordance with another embodiment of the system, each panel having flaps extending from two adjacent sides thereof rather than just from one.

DESCRIPTION

Throughout the following description specific details are set forth in order to provide a more thorough understanding to persons skilled in the art. However, well known elements may not have been shown or described in detail to avoid unnecessarily obscuring the disclosure. Accordingly, the description and drawings are to be regarded in an illustrative, rather than a restrictive, sense.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an operational landfill 100. A compactor 200 is traveling up the “active face” 102 (the ramped portion) of the operational landfill 100, spreading and compacting fill waste with a blade 204 of its bucket. At the end of each working day, active face 102 must be covered.

FIGS. 2a and 2b are perspective views of operational landfill 100 covered with prior art cover systems. FIG. 2a shows the active face of landfill 100 covered with mineral soil 120 while FIG. 2b shows the active face of landfill 100 covered with a tarp 130. These prior art cover systems present the disadvantages outlined above.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a panel 10 of the ADC system of the present invention. Panel 10 comprises a plate 20, brackets 40 and optionally, one or more flaps 60. In one embodiment, plate 20 is made of a metal, namely steel. However, plate 20 may be made from one or more of a variety of different materials. In the embodiment shown, the material is a rigid, relatively inflexible material. However, more flexible materials such as plastics may also be used.

Plate 20 has a top face 22 and a bottom face 24. As previously stated, in the shown embodiment, plate 20 is made from one material, namely steel. However, those skilled in the art will readily see that plate 20 can be made from more than one material if desired. Optionally, top face 22 and/or bottom face 24 may be overlaid with a different material. Alternatively, the majority or entirety of plate 20 may be overlaid with a flexible material, for example, a material that will protect it from moisture.

Brackets 40 are attached to the top face 22 of plate 20. In the illustrated embodiment, there are two brackets 40. However, there may be any useful number of brackets 40. In a preferred embodiment brackets 40 each comprise an elbow 42 and an arm 44. Brackets 40 may be welded to plate 20 if both are made of steel. However they are affixed onto plate, 20, the purpose of brackets 40 is to allow an operator of machinery to pick up and move and otherwise manipulate the position of plate 20.

Plate 20 will typically have four or more edges. In the embodiment shown, plate 20 has a rear edge 26, a front edge 28 and side edges 30a and 30b. In the illustrated embodiment, edges 26 and 28 are parallel. Side edges 30a and 30b are also parallel, such that plate 20 has a rectangular shape. However, plate 20 may take on a variety of different shapes. For example, plate 20 may be trapezoidal or rhombus-shaped. Or the shape of plate 20 may be irregular, but for most uses a rectangular-shaped plate will suffice, and a plate of rectangular shape will continue to be described herein just for clarity.

In the embodiment shown, brackets 40 are located near the center of plate 20, and are equidistant from side edges 30a and 30b. However, those skilled in the art will readily see that brackets 40 need not be located in the center of the plate. Alternatively, brackets 40 may be located closer to one edge of the plate and/or may be spaced further apart than they are in the shown embodiment.

Optionally, one or more flaps may be attached to plate 20. In the illustrated embodiment, flap 60 is attached to plate 20 near front edge 28. Flap 60 may be adhered to plate 20 by an adhesive, or may be attached mechanically, for example, by way of screws or bolts passing through the flap 60 and into or through the plate 20. In one embodiment of the invention (shown in FIG. 3), plate 20 has one flap 60 along the front edge 28. Flap 60 extends beyond the front edge 28 of the plate 20. However, those skilled in the art will readily see that plate 20 may have more than one flap (or may have no flaps at all), and that flap(s) 60 may be attached to a side edge rather than a front edge, or to any other edge or combination of edges. For example, plate 20 may have 2 flaps on adjacent sides (or a single flap having an “L-shape”), such that flaps 60 cover two adjacent edges (for example, the front edge and a side edge). This arrangement is shown in FIG. 6. The importance of flap 60 is discussed in greater detail below.

In the illustrated embodiment, flap 60 extends the full length L of front edge 28. However, flap 60 does not have to extend over the entire length L, nor is it necessarily confined to length L.

In the shown embodiment, flap 60 is made from a relatively flexible material, such as rubber. In one particular embodiment, flap 60 is conveniently fashioned from rubber conveyor belting. However, flap 60 may be made from one or more of a variety of materials. In another embodiment, flap 60 is made from the same material that plate 20 is overlaid with and is contiguous with that material.

FIGS. 4a and 4b show panel 10 being engaged and transported by compactor 200. In FIG. 4b, panel 10 is engaged with bucket 202 and is being transported by compactor 200. FIG. 4a shows a close-up view of brackets 40 of panel 10 and bucket 204 of compactor 200 prior to engagement. It is appreciated that only the central portion of the surface of plate 20 is illustrated in this figure.

As show in FIG. 4a, bucket 202 has a blade 204. To engage panel 10, blade 204 is placed on top of plate 20 or very close to the top surface 22 of plate 20, and is slid between plate 20 and arms 44 until blade 204 comes into contact (or nearly comes into contact) with elbow 42. Next, the operator of compactor 200 lifts bucket 202 into the air bringing the engaged panel 20 with it. As can be seen in FIG. 4b, panel 10 thus travels with bucket 202, such that plate 20 is below blade 204 and is held onto blade 204 by arms 44 of brackets 40.

FIG. 5 shows compactor 200 disengaging panel 10 onto active face 102 of operational landfill 100. Once bucket 202 is above the space where the operator wishes to place panel 10, bucket 202 is lowered so that bottom face 24 of panel 10 is placed against active face 102 and panel 10 rests on active face 102. Bucket 202 is then retracted so that panel 10 is disengaged.

As shown in FIG. 5, the system of the invention requires that a plurality of panels 10 be placed on active face 102 in shingle-fashion. In other words, a panel 10 is picked up from a storage location, and placed at or near the top of the active face 102. A row of top-most panels may be placed at the top of the active face if the face is wider than the width of one plate. Then, another panel is picked up and placed beneath the top-most panel, but overlapping it along the bottom edge of the plate of the first panel. In this particular figure (FIG. 5), not only the active face, but the top portion of the landfill is shown covered with plates 10, but it is not necessarily the case that the top portion of the landfill must or should be covered with the system.

The plates themselves of adjacent panels can be placed partially atop one another so that they overlap one another if they do not include flaps 60. However, as shown, the plates 20 of panels 10 may have flaps 60 along one or more edges and in that instance the plate edges may be placed adjacent to one another (abutting one another, or even simply quite near one another) so that it is only the flap 60 of one panel which overlaps the plate 20 of the next panel. This overlap ensures nearly complete coverage of active face 102 and prevents it from being exposed to rain, wind, vectors, and the like. The flexibility of the flap 60 causes the flap to conform more closely to the top surface of an adjoining plate where the plates might be askew or otherwise not completely flush with one another, minimizing gaps. Flaps 60 can also be attached to one or more side edges of plates 20 as shown in FIG. 6, ensuring similar coverage between respective sides of the adjacent plates 20.

Once the system has been put into place, it remains so until removed by the compactor operator (usually the next day). To remove panels 10, the operator of compactor 200 simply follows the reverse of the procedure that was used to place panels 10 on active face 102. Again, although item 200 has been referred to a compactor, other types of heavy equipment may be used to engage and transport panels 10.

The system of placing the panels of the present invention in shingle-fashion on the active face of an operational landfill has many advantages over other forms of ADC. Firstly, the panels are very durable, are fireproof, and are expected to last for many years. Secondly, the panels may easily be recovered, even in high winds or after a heavy snowfall. Third, a set of panels can be engaged and transported easily, typically in less than 15 minutes. Furthermore, since the panels are re-useable, they present a lesser environmental impact than disposable ADC systems.

While a number of exemplary aspects and embodiments have been discussed above, those of skill in the art will recognize certain modifications, permutations, additions and sub-combinations thereof. It is therefore intended that the following appended claims and claims hereafter introduced are interpreted to include all such modifications, permutations, additions and sub-combinations as are within their true spirit and scope.