Patent application title: Mobile Environmental Berm
Sky Bleu Martin (Seattle, WA, US)
IPC8 Class: AE02B1506FI
Class name: Hydraulic and earth engineering bank, shore, or bed protection
Publication date: 2012-01-26
Patent application number: 20120020731
A Mobile Environmental Berm assembly provides an immediately deployable
offshore contain and absorb area to stop primary waterborne contaminates
before these contaminates spread to secondary and tertiary areas such as
shorelines, wetlands or fresh water supplies. Each Mobile Environmental
Berm assembly has a plurality of Berm Arms that are made of a strong
rigid material where each Berm Arm has a plurality of planar surfaces
provided for vertical and/or horizontal close-coupled stacking with other
surfaces such as those on other Berm Arms, on relatively horizontal or
vertical surfaces or for connection to other accessories. Filter nets
attach to the Mobile Environmental Berm assembly to allow for water
column filtering below or adjacent to a floating or submerged Mobile
Environmental Berm. Filter nets vary in size according to the application
for filtering macro-, micro or nanoscopic particles such as oil, chemical
or biological contaminates.
1. A Mobile Environmental Berm assembly comprises a plurality of
Immediately Deployable Berm Arms are configured using a Contain and
Absorb Strategy to create an Offshore Containment and Removal Area where
the Berm Arm is made of a strong rigid material with a plurality of
planar surfaces provided for vertical and/or horizontal or other
directional close-coupled stacking with other surfaces such as those on
other Berm Arms, on relatively horizontal or vertical surfaces or for
connection to other accessories where; a flexible multiple arm
containment area of a plurality of Berm Arms is made by joining together
multiple Berm Arms using a plurality of mechanical connectors and a
plurality of arm stops where the flexible multiple arm containment area
is of flexible height, depth, width and configuration shape made by
stacking and joining Berm Arms together.
2. The Mobile Environmental Berm Assembly of claim 1 where the Berm Arms float.
3. The Mobile Environmental Berm Assembly of claim 1 where the Berm Arms are buoyancy compensated to be submersible.
4. The Mobile Environmental Berm Assembly of claim 1 where the Berm Arms are nonbuoyant for use as a shoreline barrier.
5. The Mobile Environmental Berm Assembly of claim 1 where the Berm Arms have four sides.
6. The Mobile Environmental Berm Assembly of claim 1 where the Berm Arms have hexagonal sides for honeycomb type stacking.
7. The Mobile Environmental Berm assembly of claim 1 where a plurality of water permeable filter nets attach to the Mobile Environmental Berm assembly where the water permeable filter nets vary in mesh size according to the application for filtering macro-, micro or nanoscopic particles such as oil, waste, invasive species, chemical, and biological contaminates arms where floating, near surface and nonfloating contaminates are absorbed before the contaminates spread to secondary and tertiary areas such as shorelines, wetlands or fresh water supplies.
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
 This invention claims the benefit of provisional application 61,367,476 filed on Jul. 26, 2010 titled Mobile Environmental Berm. The present invention is related to the commonly-invented and now abandoned U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/137,182 titled Local Containment Boom and Standoff filed on Jun. 11, 2008 and the PCT/US2009/04599 Local Containment Boom and Standoff now abandoned that were both continued-in-part as U.S. patent application Ser. No. 13/007,767 titled Local Containment Boom and Standoff (Enviro Boom). The present invention is also related to the commonly invented and co-pending U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/615,960 filed on Nov. 10, 2009, titled External Filtering and Absorbing Device for Use in a Local Containment Area. All of these stated applications are incorporated by reference in their entirety.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
 Not Applicable
REFERENCE TO SEQUENCE LISTING, A TABLE, OR A COMPUTER PROGRAM LISTING COMPACT DISC APPENDIX
 Not Applicable
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 This invention relates to selectively floating or submersible type mobile barriers used to protect secondary areas such as shorelines, wetlands and other land and aquatic assets from primary waterborne contamination. This invention also relates to floating or submersible type mobile containment areas used to contain primary contaminants before, during and after absorption so that the contaminates do not contaminate secondary areas.
 Two types of prior art devices typically protect shorelines, wetlands and other marine assets from waterborne contamination:  Temporary single lines of floating barrier booms and  Near shore (or onshore) permanent or semi-permanent structures such as sand berms that act as barriers and/or partial absorbents.
 Temporary single barrier lines such as oil spill booms are generally elongated in shape, nonplanar (substantially cylindrical), often inflated, and are designed to stretch as a single line for long distances around a ship or off of a shoreline to prevent primary waterborne contaminates from reaching secondary areas. These prior art barriers are anchored in a relatively fixed location at a certain distance from the shore as measured at some point in time (one set of weather and tide conditions) and provide a single line of barrier to floating contaminants. This type of boom is generally approximately two feet wide and four feet in height with two feet above water and two feet below water to block the progression of primary surface floating contamination such as oil spills from reaching secondary areas.
 Near shore (or onshore) permanent or semi-permanent structures such as sand berms can be constructed to limit the spread of secondary contamination in a secondary area such as a shoreline or other protected area. Grasses are sometimes planted and grown to help keep the sand from eroding away. Some or all of the oil and other primary contaminants are caught in secondary areas such as the sand in the berm depending on the size and placement of the berm and the length of time that the berm and the sand stay in place. Further cleanup would then involve removing the primary contaminants from the large visible secondary area such as sand or other material used to build the berm. A tertiary category of contaminated area may be unseen where the sand has merely filtered out the larger physical particles from the water but the water remains contaminated with microscopic and nanoscopic materials (chemical and biological contamination rather than physical contamination) that have soaked through the sand. Cleanup may or may not be addressed to this area. In many circumstances, the cleanup would end at the visible surface and the surrounding microscopic and nanoscopic contaminated areas would be disregarded.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 Prior art temporary single lines of booms are floating barriers not containers. Eventually the primary waterborne contamination must go somewhere. The harmful effect of contaminates such as from oil spills are huge as the EPA reports at their web site at:  http://www.epa.gov/owow/oceans/habitat/artificialreefs/documents/oilandfu- el.html.
 Oil spills can harm the environment in several ways, including the physical damage that directly impacts wildlife and their habitats and the toxicity of the oil and its constituents, which can poison exposed organisms. Spilled oil in the environment immediately begins to disperse and degrade, with concomitant changes in physical and chemical properties. As these processes occur, the oil threatens natural resources, including birds and mammals as well as a wide range of marine organisms linked in a complex food web. Some organisms can be seriously injured (non-lethal effects) or killed (lethal effects) very soon after contact with the oil in a spill (acute effects); however, non-lethal toxic effects are often more subtle and often longer lasting (chronic effects).
 Wide-ranging conditions are inevitable in large bodies of water where changing tide and weather conditions may compromise the effectiveness of a single line of boom defense where wind and waves send oil and other contaminants over the top of anchored booms and the primary contaminates can then go unhindered to the shore or other protected area and cause secondary contamination. Turbulent water conditions, dispersants and chemical and physical changes to contaminates may disperse typically floating contaminants such as oil into water as oil plumes spreading the contaminate throughout the water column so that a surface barrier is completely ineffective.
 Other nonfloating microscopic and nanoscopic contaminants (chemical and biological contaminates) such as aquatic nonindigenous species and waterborne bacteria and viruses are not addressed by surface barrier type devices and these nonfloating and small contaminates move on to contaminate secondary areas and unseen tertiary areas.
 Prior art near shore permanent or semi-permanent structures such as sand berms take a great deal of time, money, and material to create. Although these structures may be thought of as barriers, the contaminants must go somewhere and contaminants are partially or completely physically stopped by the sand leaving large quantities of partially or completely contaminated sand. Aside from the widespread contamination that has been washed into the sand berms, the permanence of these structures destroys the very beauty and draw of the shorelines, wetlands and other marine assets that they are there to protect. Location may be everything: the effectiveness of this type of prior art barriers may be reduced because of their fixed structure and susceptibility to erosion and ineffectiveness during changing conditions such as high and low tides, storms, and variable winds.
 Small waterborne microscopic and nanoscopic contaminants such as chemical and aquatic nonindigenous species and waterborne bacteria and viruses are not contained by sand because the water and small particulates merely flow through.
 The Mobile Environmental Berm solves the problem of secondary contamination and tertiary contamination by providing a barrier that is mobile and immediately deployable and can be adapted to meet changing conditions to prevent a higher amount of contamination from ever reaching secondary and tertiary areas. In addition, the Mobile Environmental Berm provides an offshore containment and removal area where primary contaminants can be absorbed as fast as possible and as far away as possible from the shore or other aquatic assets better protecting these assets from becoming secondary or tertiary contaminated areas. The Mobile Environmental Berm can be quickly moved or set up near the source of the primary contamination rather than waiting for the contaminates to wash ashore reducing the area subject to secondary and tertiary contamination, and reducing the area and costs of clean-up--less harm and less cost.
 The Mobile Environmental Berm uses multiple arm configurations such as squares, triangles, and other geometric shapes to create flexible barrier and containment areas. Planar surfaces provide for closely coupled vertical and horizontal stacking capability to adapt to changing conditions such as wind, waves and changing tides. Lower or base level Mobile Environmental Berms may be submerged as needed to provide additional below-the-surface protection. Water permeable filter nets may be attached to provide a barrier and/or provide confinement of nonfloating particulates and chemical and biological contaminates. Because of their strength and planar surfaces, Mobile Environmental Berms may be easily held in a fixed position using top-weight means such as sand bags or sand saddle bags when the Mobile Environmental Berms are in shallow water or other places where anchors are ineffective or not present. The water permeable bottom weighted filter nets can be strung where needed allowing for filtering of the entire water column that may pass under the Mobile Environmental Berms or between Mobile Environmental Berms where Mobile Environmental Berms are used as noncontinuous barriers. Filter nets mesh sizes can be sized for the particular contaminate threat and multiple sizes of filter nets can be attached to different locations on the Mobile Environmental Berms to achieve multiple levels of filtering. Filter nets may be attached as needed to create modular filtering lines or containment areas.
 A Berm Arm sleeve assembly optionally covers the Berm Arm where needed providing attachment surfaces and inner or outer containment area pockets to hold absorbent pillows, other absorbents, sample testing devices, or other accessories. Absorbent pillows can be tethered to the Berm Arm or Berm Arm sleeve assembly and thrown over into adjacent areas to remove floating contaminates from outside the contained area.
 We use the term `Contain and Absorb Strategy` to refer to the process of containing primary contaminants such as an oil spill in water before they reach secondary and tertiary areas (such as shores, wetlands and other areas) and absorbing and removing these contaminants while still in the primary contaminant area.
 We use the term `Immediately Deployable` to refer to several aspects of the ease of using the Mobile Environmental Berm both in regard to the short amount of time (just a few minutes per Berm Arm) needed to configure the Offshore Containment Area and in regards to the ease of handling. One aspect of the ease of use is that few configuration skills are required to place the Mobile Environmental Berm in the needed vicinity--just drop it in the water or on shore and connect it to the other Mobile Environmental Berms in a shape such as a triangle or square suitable to contain any spills or potential spills in the immediate vicinity of the operation. The Mobile Environmental Berm is immediately deployable because the Berm Arms are small and lightweight compared to prior art devices. Berm Arms are immediately deployable because one person can handle their small size (5 to 30 feet in length for one arm) and light weight (25-100 lbs. per Berm Arm) and because the self-contained buoyancy and self-righting capabilities require no extra equipment for inflation. Immediately Deployable also refers to being able to lower the Berm Arms from the deck of a ship or boat with lines into the water and using lines to position the Mobile Environmental Berm in place for emergency operations to quickly contain spills that have already occurred without the use of extra personnel or an extra vessel to deploy the Berm Arms.
 We use the term `Offshore Containment and Removal Area` to define the area between a primary contamination such as an oil spill and secondary areas such as shore areas or wetlands. The term `Offshore` is used for convenience of illustration but is not limited to near shore areas but rather is where the device protects any secondary or tertiary area from primary contamination. Examples of an Off Shore Containment and Removal Area that is not a near shore application is surrounding a marine vessel or an oil plume containment area where the depth of the containment nets may be hundreds of feet.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING
 FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a Mobile Environmental Berm with multiple Berm Arms.
 FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a Mobile Environmental Berm with a multiple arm configuration with a filter net attached.
 FIG. 3 is a top view of Mobile Environmental Berms attached to a line of traditional boom where the Mobile Environmental Berms are establishing an Offshore Containment and Removal Area for protecting a potential secondary contamination area like a shoreline from a primary contaminated area and confining contaminants for removal.
 FIG. 4 is a top view of Mobile Environmental Berms creating an Offshore Containment and Removal Area for protecting a potential secondary contamination area, in this case a wetland area.
 FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a Berm Arm sleeve assembly.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
 As shown in FIG. 1-FIG. 5, a Mobile Environmental Berm assembly 10 comprises a plurality of linked together individual Berm Arms 12 that are not inflated (such as the four Berm Arms 12 shown in FIG. 2) that float or are submersible or are land-based (on or near shore) where the Berm Arm 12 is made of a strong rigid material 14 with a plurality of planar surfaces 18 provided for vertical (see upper planar surface 16 in FIG. 1) and/or horizontal or other directional close-coupled stacking with other surfaces such as planar surfaces on other Berm Arms 12, relatively planar horizontal or vertical surfaces or relatively planar portions of surfaces or for connection to other accessories.
 Flexible multiple arm configurations 20 of a plurality of Berm Arms 12 are made by joining together multiple Berm Arms 12 using a plurality of mechanical connectors and a plurality of arm stops 22 where the flexible multiple arm containment area 52 is of flexible height, depth, width and configuration shape made by stacking and joining Berm Arms 12 together to place in an Offshore Containment and Removal Area 52. This Offshore Containment and Removal Area 52 allows for absorption of the plurality of primary waterborne contaminates using a plurality of floating or submerged absorption materials 38 that are free floating or attached to the Berm Arms where the floating and near surface contaminates are absorbed. This Contain and Absorb Strategy stops the contaminate spread to secondary and tertiary areas such as shorelines 56, wetlands 58 or fresh water supplies.
 FIG. 3 shows horizontally stacked multiple arm configurations 20 that are attached to a traditional temporary single line boom 47 where the contaminated area 49 may contain a combination of floating and nonfloating contaminates that are not stopped or absorbed by a traditional temporary single line boom. The overspill of floating contaminates is captured by the Offshore Containment and Removal Area 52 and absorbed by absorbent materials 38 before the contaminates reach the uncontaminated area 50 or the secondary areas of the shoreline 56. Wetlands 58 are protected as shown in FIG. 4 by a plurality of Mobile Environmental Berm Assemblies 10 that are in multiple arm configurations 20. The wetland shoreline 56 in this case is an application for a Mobile Environmental Berm Assembly 10 that can adapt to sitting partly in water and partly on land (submersible or non-buoyant) where a traditional single line boom 47 may run aground and not provide any barrier or would not work well in a closely-coupled application where surfaces would not match up.
 FIG. 2 shows a water permeable filter net 24 with weights 26 attached to a Mobile Environmental Berm assembly 10. Water permeable filter nets 24 may be attached to any arm of a multiple arm configuration 20 in any shape or line, or broken line around or near a containment area to allow capture and/or containment of nonfloating contaminates that are residing in a water column below and/or adjacent to a floating, submerged or land-based Mobile Environmental Berm assembly 10. Water permeable filter nets 24 may also be attached between floating, submerged or land-based Berm Arms. Water permeable filter nets 24 vary in mesh size according to the application for filtering macro-, micro or nanoscopic particles such as oil, oil plumes, wastes, invasive species, chemical, and biological contaminates arms where floating, near surface and nonfloating contaminates are absorbed before the contaminates spread to secondary and tertiary areas such as shorelines 56, wetlands 56 or fresh water supplies.
 The Mobile Environmental Berm assembly 10 may be covered with a
 Berm Arm sleeve assembly made of fabric 32 and covered with a variety of mechanical connectors 34 to provide easy connection to other Berm Arms 12 and devices and provides a plurality of pockets 36 for storage of various devices and materials such as absorbents 38 and water sample testing devices.
Patent applications by Sky Bleu Martin, Seattle, WA US
Patent applications in class BANK, SHORE, OR BED PROTECTION
Patent applications in all subclasses BANK, SHORE, OR BED PROTECTION