California wastewater agency wins with radiant technology

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When most people think of radiant heat or hydronic snow melt, the usual applications come to mind: warm floors, heated sidewalks and snow-free driveways. The Big Bear Area Regional Wastewater Agency (BBARWA) in Big Bear, Calif., contacted Viega Radiant Design Services with a project that needed an innovative solution. A byproduct of the water treatment process is sludge which must be hauled by a truck to an off-site disposal area. BBARWA needed to reduce the water content and weight of the sludge, making it less expensive to haul. BBARWA tried several different methods to dry the sludge with only marginal success, so they decided to devise a new system that would be more effective, more efficient and would reduce the odor complaints.

Viega Radiant Design Services worked on the specifics of the slab-heating system design, focusing on what would be required to generate enough heat from the slab to meet the sludge-drying objectives. Viega design engineers used finite element analysis (FEA) to determine the optimum tubing size, spacing and install-depth in the slab based on the water temperature supplied from the diesel generator’s exhaust. Due to the shape and size of the 315- by 60-foot heated slab, it was clear that this project was an excellent application for Viega’s revolutionary Viega Climate Mat® system.

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Within the first year alone, the new system saved approximately $200,000 in transportation and fuel costs. Additionally, the project received the California Water Association Desert Mountain Award for Innovation.

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