Climbing down in trenches is dangerous work because they often collapse, but now a Pavillion man has invented a product so waterline installers don’t have to climb in. 350 workers were crushed or suffocated when trenches collapsed between 2000 and 2009. Inventor Bob Davis said to install water pipes, workers have long placed a five gallon bucket of gravel over the end of the pipe.
“I’ve always thought somebody needs to come up with something that I can assemble the waterline on the hydrant on top the ground for a drain box on it that would protect that valve yet let it drain. Something that I could drop from on top the surface of the ground where I never have to get in the trench.”
So he went to engineers at Legacy Molding in Riverton.
“I had an idea in my mind. I just didn’t know how to get it onto a computer,” said Davis. “His engineers did. I explained my objective to them that I wanted to get something that was safe, to where it could save lives or save injuries.”
The business helped Davis himself create a 3-D printed prototype. Two years and $100,000 later, he had a drain box he was happy with. The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality was happy with it too.
Last fall, Davis received a patent on his drain box after only one year. Most inventors wait up to ten years. The drain box is available in hardware stores around the state and on his website www.DavisUHB.com.