Patent application title: Farmable water quality inlet for transporting water from surface to drainage pipe
Charles J. Schafer (St. Petersburg, FL, US)
IPC8 Class: AE02B1100FI
Class name: Having regulation of flow through channel at outlet or intake riser or standpipe outlet or intake
Publication date: 2011-03-17
Patent application number: 20110064521
A water inlet for transporting water that comprises an elongated body
having a center portion formed with a plurality of radially projecting
spokes and an exterior portion extending the length of the body and
formed of spaced apart strips, with each of the strips fixed on the outer
end of one of the spokes to define a plurality of longitudinally
extending channels in the body.
1. A water inlet for draining surface water comprising:(a) an elongated
body having:(1) a center portion extending the length of said body and
formed with a plurality of radially projecting spokes;(2) an exterior
portion extending the length of said body that is formed of spaced apart
strips with each of said strips fixed on the outer end of one of said
spokes to define a plurality of longitudinally extending channels in said
2. The water inlet as described in claim 1 wherein said center portion has at least four spokes, each of which extends outwardly from the middle of said center portion to form right angles with one another.
3. The water inlet as described in claim 1 wherein the diameter of said body has a size of approximately one-half inch to one inch.
4. The water inlet as described in claim 1 wherein said strips of said exterior portion have a tubular curvature.
5. A water drain apparatus for draining surface water from a field comprising:(a) a tile line buried beneath the surface of the field;(b) a plurality of water inlets extending from said tile line toward the surface of said field and including:(1) an elongated body having:a. a center portion extending the length of said body and formed with a plurality of radially projecting spokes;b. an exterior portion extending the length of said body that is formed of spaced apart strips, with each of said strips fixed on the outer end of one of said spokes to define a plurality of longitudinally extending channels in said body; andc. means for securing said water inlets to said tile line to provide a path of fluid flow therebetween.
6. The water drain apparatus of claim 5 wherein said means for securing said water inlets to said tile line includes a tile Tee, and said water inlets are formed in a bundle that is received by one end of the Tee.
7. The water drainage apparatus as described in claim 5 wherein the means for securing the water inlets to said tile line includes a tile Tee located in said tile line and having opposite ends for receiving said tile line and a medially positioned tubular opening for receiving said water inlets, said tubular opening further including a partition having a plurality of apertures for receiving said water inlets.
8. The water drainage apparatus of claim 5 wherein the body of each of said water inlets has a diameter of approximately one-half inch to one inch.
9. The water inlet apparatus as described in claim 5 wherein said center portion has as least four spokes, each of which extends outwardly from the middle of said center portion to form right angles with one another.
10. The water inlet apparatus as described in claim 5 wherein said water inlets are arranged in a generally straight line.
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates in general to the use of surface water inlets in agricultural fields, urban, residential, commercial and highway Right Of Way that lead below the surface to connect with drainage tile lines for carrying excess water therefrom and more specifically resides in a type of water inlet that is formed from a durable and bendable material and extends from the surface down toward the tile line and includes channels for conveying groundwater to the line.
2. Description of the Prior Art
Various types of apparatus for draining excess water from an agricultural field are well-known in the art. Such apparatus can be used to:
Catch and drain seep areas;
Pick up the low flow from sump pumps;
Help dry out a spring area drain water from catch basin and terrace channels; and
Collect and divert surface water away from buildings and structures.
One such category of apparatus are commonly referred to as "Blind" inlets or "French" drains and are used to provide a relatively simplistic method for accomplishing drainage flow.
A Blind inlet is defined as an excavated earthen box with a perforated collector tubing placed in the bottom and filled to the surface with a filler such as rock or gravel. The filler is the inlet for the surface water. Prior Blind inlets were not designed to collect large amounts of surface water from a storm event, but rather were designed to collect the small, irritating trickle flow that continues for days after a storm. The collector tubes are usually corrugated, perforated plastic tubing. Parallel lines of the collector tubing connect to a main line which in turn transports the water to an outlet such as a roadside ditch or curb drain.
Various types of drainage composite materials have been developed for use as the backfill in Blind inlets to increase the drainage of surface water to the collector tubing. To further improve such drainage, at least one manufacturer has developed a product line that includes a tubular shaped elongated inlet with slots or holes in its circumference so that it can be buried in a vertical orientation in the field leading from a collector tube to the surface, as described and shown on the web site of Hickenbottom, Inc. The inlets produced by Hickenbottom, Inc. range in diameter from five to twelve inches and may have either 1-inch holes or 1-inch wide slots. Typically such inlets stick up out of the ground so that a field operator or maintenance and groundskeeper must work around them.
Although the above-described devices all have a certain amount of utility for draining excess ground water from a field, their capacity is often limited and they suffer from the serious deficiency of being subject to clogging by dirt and roots, crop residue and other water born trash. The 1 inch holes and slots allow significant amounts of soil particles and related constituents to be transported from the surface into underground drainage lines and from there to downstream areas. The present invention is designed to provide a low cost, highly durable and flexible water inlet that not only provides a high volume of inlet area per linear inch, but resists soil particle transport and clogging from crop residue and vegetation and is difficult for animals such as beavers etc to sense and block flows.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The present invention provides a water inlet for draining agricultural fields, urban, residential, commercial areas, and Highway Right Of Way of excess water and is constructed of an elongated body that provides multiple channels for water flow from the surface of a field to collector tubes lying beneath the surface.
The body of the invention has a center portion extending the length thereof and formed with a plurality of radially projecting spokes, and an exterior portion that is formed of spaced apart strips, with each of said strips fixed on the outer end of one of said spokes to define a plurality of longitudinally extending channels in the body. In a preferred embodiment, the center portion of the body has preferably four spokes, each of which extend outwardly from the middle of said center portion to form ninety degree angles and a stabilized support structure for the exterior portion of the inlet.
The invention is preferably formed from a flexible and impact resistant material such as high density polyethylene so as to resist mold and aquatic growth and to be floatable and resilient. Also, the invention can be constructed from recycled material and be colored to blend in with the environment. Although it is possible to use one of the inlets of the present invention by itself, preferably the invention will be used in large numbers to form a composite pipe type arrangement of individual units that will lead to the collector tubing. The individual flexible water inlets may also be arranged in a row.
Other features and advantages of the present invention will be readily appreciated from the following description. The description makes reference to the accompanying drawings, which are provided for illustration of the preferred embodiment. However, such embodiment does not represent the full scope of the invention. The subject matter which the inventor regards as his invention is particularly pointed out and distinctly claimed in the claims at the conclusion of this specification.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
FIG. 1 is an enlarged perspective view of a preferred embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is an enlarged cross-sectional view taken along the line 2-2 in FIG. 1; and
FIG. 3 is a side perspective view of a plurality of water inlets of the present invention clumped together in a pipe-type arrangement that is secured to a tile tee for connecting into collector pipes of a field tile drainage system in the ground.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT
While the making and using of the preferred embodiment of the water inlet of the present invention is discussed in detail below, it should be appreciated that the present invention provides for inventive concepts capable of being embodied in a variety of specific forms. The specific embodiment discussed herein is merely illustrative of specific manners in which to make and use the invention and is not to be interpreted as limiting the scope of the instant invention.
The present invention provides a unique water inlet, a preferred embodiment of which is shown in FIG. 1 at 10, that is designed to serve in forming a Blind inlet for conveying ground water to collector tile lines located below surface of an agricultural field. Preferably, the water inlet 10 is formed from a durable, bendable and flexible material such as high density polyethylene to provide a resilient and an impact resistant design that cannot be seriously damaged by farm equipment allowing farmers to farm directly over the inlet and resists mold and aquatic growth while providing a high volume of water inlet area per linear inch.
The inlet 10 is also particularly well suited for resisting clogging from crop residue and vegetation and is difficult for animals such as beavers to sense and block flow. It is believed that the present invention will deliver cleaner water to downstream surface waters, bioreactors and drainage water management systems, structures and valves while at the same time reducing soil, sediment and nutrient transport. Additionally, the inlet 10 can be used in multiple numbers at the end of a drain line as a guard for preventing pest or rodent intrusion and allow water to flow both in and out of the line and also to resist damage during normal ditch cleaning and maintenance.
Referring now to both FIG. 1 and to FIG. 2 in which an enlarged cross-section of the inlet 10 is shown, it can be seen that the inlet 10 has a body 12 formed of an elongated narrow construction that is preferably five to six feet long so that it can be sized in length as needed. Preferably, the inlet 10 has only a relatively narrow diameter in the range of from 0.5 inches to 1 inch in approximate dimensions to provide in individualized form an inlet having a high degree of flexibility and bendability.
As shown best in FIG. 2, the inlet body 12 has a center portion 14 that extends the entire length of the body 12 and is formed with a plurality of radially projecting spokes 16 that are preferably perpendicular to one another. The precise number of the spokes 16 is not critical although at least four of the spokes 16 are preferred to provide a right angle configuration, but as few as three spokes 16 may be employed. However, the greater the number of the spokes 16, the larger should be the diameter of the body 12 so as to maintain proper operation of the inlet 10 as will be described below.
To form an outer wall for the inlet 10, each of the spokes 16 has fixed on its outer end longitudinally directed strips 18 that together form an exterior portion 20 for the inlet 10. As can be seen in FIG. 2, the strips 18 are sized to provide a gap 22 between adjacent strips 18, which gap is preferably of a size approximately 0.070 inches. To maximize performance of the inlet 10, it is preferable that the strips 18 have a tubular curvature, but it may as well include strips with less curvature or no curvature.
By the arrangement of the spokes 16 and their associated strips 18, it can be seen that the inlet 10 is divided into four longitudinally extending individual channels 23 comprised of two adjacent spokes 16 to serve as a path of communication between the upper surface of the field and the water collector pipes in the ground. However, because of limited size of each individual inlet 10, it is preferable that in forming a Blind inlet that a large number of the inlets 10 be used to define a bundle 24 as shown in FIG. 3 so that they can be quickly and easily assembled together with a tile line 26 by means of a tile line tee 28.
By forming the bundle 24, one of the additional advantages provided by the strips 18 is that two of the inlets 10 can be snapped together with a strip 18 of one inlet 10 fit into the channel 23 of an adjacent inlet 10. In this manner, a somewhat integral bundle of the inlets 10 is produced that can be more easily aligned in the field in a trench for backfilling. It is also possible to use the inlets 10 in connection with a plate, not shown, that may be secured in the inlet of the tile tee 28 and have a plurality of holes for receiving individual of the inlets 10 in a spaced apart relationship. By utilizing an arrangement such as the bundle 24, the present invention provides a Blind inlet having hundreds of individual channels 24 flowing down to the tile collector lines, with each channel including a narrow opening that is less likely to be blocked from crop residue and aquatic growth in comparison to structures that have been used in the past. It may also be advantageous to employ a plurality of the inlets 10 in a straight line configuration with each inlet 10 extending down to the tile line 26 and inserted therein via a small hole toward one side of the line 26. By such placement of the inlets 10 in the line 26, flow through the line 26 is less likely to be impeded by the insertion of numerous of the inlets 10 therein.
Thus, the present invention has been described in an illustrative manner. It is to be understood that the terminology that has been used herein is intended to be in the nature of words of description rather than of limitation. Furthermore, whereas the present invention has been described in relation to the drawings attached hereto, it should be understood that other and further modifications, apart from those shown or suggested herein, may be made within the spirit and scope of this invention.