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United States Patent  [ii] Patent Number: 4,840,729
Levine  Date of Patent: Jun. 20,1989
 OIL SPILL RECOVERY APPARATUS
 Inventor: Robert A. Levine, Westminster, Calif.
 Assignee: Atlantic Richfield Company, Los Angeles, Calif.
 Appl. No.: 155,406
 Filed: Feb. 12,1988
Related U.S. Application Data
 Division of Ser. No. 5, Jan. 2, 1987, Pat. No. 4,758,355.
 Int. Q." E02B 15/04
 U.S. a 210/170; 210/241;
 Field of Search 37/78, 195, 75, 76,
37/77, 54, 56, 67, 61, 62, 63; 210/923, 747,170,
 References Cited
U.S. PATENT DOCUMENTS
2,318,587 5/1943 Andrews, Jr 37/78
2,963,801 12/1960 Ellicott, Jr 37/67
3,019,535 2/1962 Talbott et al 37/63 X
3,402,487 9/1968 Vaughan et al 37/78
3,540,194 11/1970 Chaplin 37/78 X
3,599,354 8/1971 Larson 37/78
3,599,354 8/1971 Larson 37/78
3,683,521 8/1972 Sloan et al 37/67 X
3,964,184 6/1976 Mathieu 37/78 X
4,013,129 3/1977 Wilkinson 172/699 X
FOREIGN PATENT DOCUMENTS
1408393 10/1975 United Kingdom 37/78
Primary Examiner—Clifford D. Crowder
Attorney, Agent, or Firm—Michael E. Martin
Crude oils and other oleaginous substances which have washed onto and socket thoroughly into coarse bottom sediments such as sand beaches and sediments forming the bottom of certain holding ponds may be released for recovery by mechanical or hydraulic plowing of the relatively loose sediments followed by hydraulic agitation of the sediments to permit the substances to float to the surface of the body of water. Shallow water beach areas may be plowed by a conventional crawler tractor having an array of ripper teeth fitted with hydraulic jet nozzles for severely agitating the sands which are plowed by the ripper teeth. A submersible pump or pump intake is preferably supported spaced from the normal path of the tractor and in the body of water to collect relatively clean water for discharge through the nozzles. A nozzle array may be mounted on a manifold supported from a flowing vessel for vertical and angular adjustment relative to the bottom sediments utilizing the body of water as a source of hydraulic plowing and agitating fluid. An array of nozzles may include an angled nozzle having a generally planar jet pattern which acts to cut or plow the sand ahead of a full conical jet nozzle which thoroughly agitates the plowed or turned over sand to free the oil.
2 Claims, 2 Drawing Sheets
OIL SPILL RECOVERY APPARATUS
This is a division of application Ser. No. 07/000,005, filed Jan. 2, 1987, now U.S. Pat. 4,758,355. 5
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention pertains to a method and apparatus for recovering crude oil and similar oily sub- 10 stances from oil soaked beach sands and other earth materials by a combined mechanical and hydraulic agitation process.
It has been observed that heavy concentrations of 15 hydrocarbon materials such as crude oils and refined oily wastes associated with oil spills and discharges into collection pits results in substantial penetration or percolation of the oil into sandy or other granular soil surfaces. In attempting to recover spilled oil from ma- 20 rine oil spills, it has been discovered that along shore lines having relatively coarse bottom sediments, crude oil washed onto the shore will penetrate into the sediments forming the shoreline and the sea bottom in shallow waters. The penetration of oil into a relatively wide 25 area is aggravated in tidal waters if the oil cannot be quickly recovered by conventional surface recovery techniques. This penetration of oil into the earth's surface not only reduces the amount of oil recovered, and may be environmentally damaging, but prevents the 30 complete removal of the oil after a spill or when the eradication of dumping pits or holding ponds for oily wastes and the like is required. Moreover, the complete removal of the oil soaked sediments or sand for processing at a remote site to remove the entrapped oil is very 35 impractical or even impossible if large quantities of oil are washed ashore or soak into the sediments.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
Notwithstanding the seemingly impossible task of 40 freeing absorbed quantities of crude oil and other oily substances from coarse sediments such as relatively coarse beach sands and marine shorelines, the present invention has resulted in the discovery that by combined mechanical and hydraulic agitation, or multistage 45 hydraulic agitation, of the bottom sediment that oleaginous substances such as crude oil, petroleum products and other oily wastes may be freed from entrapment in such sediments and floated to the surface of a body of water covering the sediments for removal by conven- 50 tional recovery methods.
The present invention contemplates a method of recovering crude oil and other oleaginous substances from entrapment or absorbtion into relatively coarse bottom sediments along seashores and oil dumping or 55 containment pits wherein a body of water covering the oil-soaked sediments is utilized as a source of hydraulic agitation which may penetrate the sediment to a sufficient depth to free the entrapped oil from the sediment particles whereby the oil will normally migrate to the 60 surface of the body of water for recovery by absorbtion, adsorption or mechanical skimming techniques.
In accordance with the present invention there is also provided an improved apparatus for recovering crude oil and the like from entrapment in coarse beach sands 65 and other relatively coarse sediment beds utilizing mechanical agitation means and hydraulic agitation and cleansing action to free the entrapped oil fluids from the
sediments. One embodiment of the present invention utilizes a conventional train traversing vehicle such as a crawler tractor having mechanical riping or agitating teeth which are arranged in combination with a plurality of hydraulic nozzles to severely stir and agitate beach sands and other coarse earth sediments to free entrapped oil for flotation to the surface of a body of water normally covering the sediments. In another embodiment of the invention, a marine vessel is provided which is equipped with an array of hydraulic jet nozzles which may be disposed directly above the sea bottom for severe agitation of the sand or sediment to a depth sufficient to free entrapped oil. In both embodiments of the invention, the source of hydraulic jetting fluid is preferably the body of water covering the oil soaked sediments.
Moreover, in one embodiment of the invention, a unique arrangement of nozzles is provided which cut or plow the bottom sediment followed by severe agitation of the sediment material by a second set of nozzles.
Those skilled in the art will recognize the above described features and advantages of the present invention, as well as other superior aspects thereof, upon reading the detailed description which follows in conjunction with the drawing.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a seashore area which has been fouled with sediment absorbed crude oil and the like which is being recovered by a vehicle equipped in accordance with the method and apparatus of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a side elevation of the vehicle shown in FIG. 1, illustrating the arrangement of the mechanical and hydraulic sediment agitating apparatus;
FIG. 3 is a detail view of one of the hydraulic jet nozzles used in conjunction with the apparatus illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2;
FIG. 4 is a side elevation of a marine vessel comprising a unique apparatus for agitating bottom sediments in accordance with the method of the present invention;
FIG. 5 is a front view of the vessel illustrated in FIG.
FIG. 6 is a detil view of a modification of the nozzle array for use with the apparatus illustrated in FIG. 1 or FIG. 4;
FIG. 7 is a detail view of the nozzle array of the embodiment illustratd in FIG. 6; and
FIG. 8 is a schematic diagram of a hydraulically driven water pump used in the apparatus of FIGS. 1 or 4.
DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED
In the description which follows, like parts are marked throughout the specification and drawing with the same reference numerals, respectively. The drawing figures are not necessarily to scale and certain features of the invention may be shown exaggerated in scale or in somewhat schematic form in the interest of clarity and conciseness.
Referring to FIG. 1, there is illustrated one preferred method and apparatus for recovering crude oil and the like which has become deposited on and absorbed into a coarse sediment such as a sand beach, generally designated by the numeral 10. The beach sediment or sand 10 is shown covered with a body of water 13 having a surface 12 and which body may be tidal or nontidal. In