EROSION CONTROL PANELS
The present invention generally relates to barriers, and particularly to erosion control panel that provide a panel system for controlling erosion at construction sites and the like.
Large amounts of dirt and/or debris are the usual products of excavation at construction sites. The dirt (and debris) is conventionally stored in piles until it can be adequately disposed of. Unfortunately, the period of such storage is often measured in weeks or months instead of days. Inclement weather, particularly rainfall, can occur during the storage period resulting in erosion of the dirt piles causing the dirt to be washed over adjacent areas. When the storage site is adjacent a drainage ditch, sump or drainage pipe, the erosion can result in clogging. Such erosion often requires time-consuming and costly cleanup before construction can proceed.
Heretofore, erosion fences have been erected at construction sites to form a barrier between the dirt piles and other areas. Conventionally the fences are comprised of spaced, relatively heavy, wooden frames having stake portions that are driven into the ground. A fabric-like material is attached to the frames to form a dam to, at least partially, prevent the eroded dirt from flowing to other areas. However, when high-damming loads occur, this arrangement has proven to be inefficient and subject to collapse. Further, the wooden frames are not readily disassembled and reusable at another site. It would certainly be desirable if a reusable and effective erosion control arrangement were available that could be adapted to a variety of situations. Thus, erosion control panels solving the aforementioned problems are desired.
DISCLOSURE OF THE INVENTION
The erosion control panels form a vertical fence that is erected at construction sites and the like to control erosion of dirt stored in piles from excavation. The fence comprises a plurality of plastic members attached together to form open frames. The frames are secured to each other and to the ground (no wood is utilized) to form the fence. Hinge-like connector members and stakes are employed to effect the securing. A porous material is attached to the frames to cover the openings therein, thus forming a barrier. The barrier allows water to pass from the dirt piles, but retains the silt and mud, thereby preventing erosion.
Accordingly, the invention presents erosion control panels that are substantially prefabricated and assembled to form a fence. The fence can be conveniently stored and easily assembled and disassembled at the job site, as needed. Fabricated from plastic, the fence is approximately one-third lighter in weight than a comparable fence fabricated from wood. The invention provides improved elements and arrangements thereof for the purposes described which are inexpensive, dependable and fully effective in accomplishing their intended purposes.
These and other features of the present invention will become readily apparent upon further review of the following specification and drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
Fig. 1 is an environmental, perspective view of erosion control panels according to the present invention.
Fig. 2 is an exploded, partial, perspective view of erosion control panels according to the present invention.
Fig. 3 is a top view of a side rail element of an erosion control panel according to the present invention.
Fig. 4 is a top view of an enclosed arrangement of an erosion control panel assembly according to the present invention.
Similar reference characters denote corresponding features consistently throughout the attached drawings.
BEST MODES FOR CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION
Referring to Figs. 1-3, the erosion control panels are shown assembled to form a fence, which is generally indicated at 10. The fence 10 is constructed to form a barrier between a dirt storage area D and other areas of the construction site. A plurality of panels 12 are attached together to form the fence 10.
Each panel 12 comprises a top rail 14, two side rails 16, 16a, and a bottom rail 18. All rails are fabricated from lightweight, durable plastic (preferably molded). The rails are assembled to form an open frame. A porous material (a sheet of silt fence material) 20 is mounted to the frame to cover the opening in the frame. The material 20 is attached to the frame in any conventional manner and can comprise, but is not limited to, silt fabrics, such as FW 330, FW 402 and FW 404, which are generally woven, synthetic filtration fabrics that permit a high flow of water (115 gallons per minute per square foot). The panels 12 are attached at their side rails to form the fence 10. The attachment means include tubular connector members 22 attached to and spaced along respective side rails 16, 16a. The connector members 22 are positioned along the side rails 16, 16a in a manner to allow the tubular members to mesh in hinge-like fashion.
A metal stake 26 is inserted through the meshed tubular members 22 in order to connect the panels 12 together. The stake 26 is provided with a pointed end 26a so that the stake 26 can be inserted in the ground to secure the panels in vertical positions. Fig. 3 shows a top view of a side rail (16 or 16a) having a tapered section 17. Top and bottom rails 14 and
18 would have a similar profile, but without the tubular member 22. As presently contemplated, the panels will be fabricated in 30" heights and either 24", 36" or 48" widths. It is obvious, however, that the panels 12 could be fabricated in other dimensions, if desired. The wider panel (48") is provided with a support brace 28 to enhance rigidity.
As best seen in Fig. 4, the panels 12 can be assembled to form an enclosure for a drainage ditch, sump, drainage pipe or the like 30 (shown in phantom lines). In such instances, cross-braces 32, fabricated from metal tubing, are connected to the panels 12 to provide additional support.
It is to be understood that the present invention is not limited to the embodiments described above, but encompasses any and all embodiments within the scope of the following claims.