When you consider the question, “what is clean technology?”, what comes to mind?
Biofuels? Solar panels? Wind turbines? Environmentally-friendly household cleaning products? Each of these are found in Way Better Patents clean technology ecosystem, and they all have something in common — they are the end products of a large and complex manufacturing infrastructure, and each is a complex product in and of itself.
What about a specialized culvert grate with no moving parts that requires little or no maintenance? Is it clean technology?
Yes, it is.
Patent number 6,338,595, “Storm water control header for culverts ”, was issued on January 15, 2002 to Adrian T. Schollen of Markham, Ontario, Canada. The invention is classified as 405/125, which places it with other inventions that control, treat, or contain fluids using culverts. These inventions are found in the major technology category of hydraulic and earth engineering (Class 405 of the US Patent Classification system).
Claim 1 states:
“A storm-water header for connection to a culvert or conduit to moderate the flow of storm-water through the culvert comprising,
a head-wall having a thimble on the downstream side thereof, an adjustable inlet control device on the upstream side of the head-wall, said head-wall being adapted to be vertically mounted in a ditch or water course with the thimble received in said culvert, weir means in said control device for retaining water to a depth of the position of the weir, and having a base section provided with openings to permit the flow of a reduced volume of water through said control device, whereby heavy flows of storm-water pass over said weir, and light flows of rain fall flow through said openings in said base section.”
This invention reduces the velocity of stormwater flowing into a culvert, thus reducing its potential to erode sediment and entrain pollutants in the runoff water. This invention, and others like it, could play a role in reducing the pollution from runoff in urban, suburban, and agricultural areas.
The loading of nonpoint source pollutants such as nitrogen, phosphorus, sediment, toxins, and metals is a very significant concern in much of the country (the Chesapeake Bay watershed is a prime example), and simple, cost-effective, and low-cost solutions, are vital.