Orenco in the News
"Pressure sewers can provide affordable service to municipalities, new subdivisions, and areas where gravity sewers are difficult and expensive to install. Effluent and grinder sewers are today’s dominant pressure sewer technologies. When evaluating these two options, lifecycle cost analysis is an effective tool for comparison, especially when actual costs can be used.
"In 2010, the Water Environment & Reuse Foundation (WERF) developed two reliable resources for evaluating sewer technologies: (1) a “Wastewater Planning Model,” allowing users to compare life-cycle costs and (2) a series of collection system “Fact Sheets” for different types of sewers, including design characteristics, performance, and cost estimates. When performing life-cycle cost analysis using WERF’s documented figures, it’s evident that pressure sewers can be an affordable option."
"Until recently, approximately 1,500 failing septic systems served large portions of Vero Beach. These systems were degrading the Indian River Lagoon adjacent to the city with excessive nutrient loads and pollution ...
"Robert Bolton, director of water and sewer for the city of Vero Beach, began investigating other options. He settled on an Orenco effluent sewer system, also known as a Septic Tank Effluent Pump (STEP) system, which was estimated to cost $11 million in comparison to the original $22.5 million proposal [for gravity sewer]."
"The State of Iowa determined it was time to modernize the wastewater system in Woden, a cluster of homes in the rural north-central part of the state … The previous system consisted of individual septic tanks for each home, but they discharged into a ditch that ran into the channelized Lindsey Creek along the eastern side of Woden. Replacements are being ordered for direct discharge systems across the state.
"… Engineers from Jacobson-Westergard & Associates in Estherville, Iowa, designed a system to handle the community’s wastewater without the expense of a small treatment plant. Each property received a 1,600-gallon concrete septic tank … These are dual-chamber tanks with half dedicated to settling and the other half housing an Orenco Systems model PF100511-30 effluent pump package with floats already in place. The tank provides settling and primary treatment.
"… Mains and lift stations move wastewater uphill to a lagoon about a half mile north of Woden, where tertiary treatment of the effluent occurs."
"Orenco Systems, known for its wastewater systems and products across the U.S. and the world, has been expanding into new markets, developing custom ping pong tables, soy sauce tanks and stained fiberglass windows among its composites products. 'In doing wastewater systems really well, we developed the core competencies to do composites and controls,' said Angela Bounds, the marketing and training manager for Orenco.
"… In developing custom products with fiberglass, Orenco has reached beyond wastewater to create a number of other items, including a ping pong table for Oregon State University’s baseball lounge and green stained fiberglass dividing walls for Brix in Roseburg. The company has also made faux wood tables for restaurants and offices as well as floating docks for water recreation."
"Residents of Christiansburg, Ohio, knew they had problems with their onsite wastewater systems. System failures and odors were common, particularly during or after significant rainfall. In 2012, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) detected high levels of bacteria in the stream that runs along the west side of the village, prompting community leaders to seek cost-effective wastewater management solutions.
" ... After reviewing the cost comparisons in the engineer’s report, council members realized that an Orenco effluent sewer followed by AdvanTex treatment was the most economical option. It offered the ease of operation that would allow the village to affordably manage its own facility.
" ... 'This was my first time working with Orenco, and it’s been a success without a doubt,' said Randy VanTilburg, P.E., who designed the Christiansburg project. 'I am actively seeking new projects we can work together on in the future.' "
"While county commissioners continue to talk big about their love for the Indian River Lagoon and their determination to save it, Vero Beach utility director Rob Bolton and his staff at the city’s water and sewer department are actually doing something about it. With little fanfare, Vero Beach since spring has been installing an innovative sewer system on the barrier island that eventually will replace hundreds of worn out septic tanks, capturing 40,000 pounds of lagoon-killing nutrients each year, along with other poisonous chemicals that now flow from island septic tanks into the lagoon.
"… [T]he STEP hybrid sewer system … is already serving as a model for other cities with septic pollution problems. (STEP is short for Septic Tank Effluent Pump system.) The system leaves existing septic systems in place as a backup while capturing household effluent before it goes into the groundwater and pumping it into the city’s primary sewer system for treatment via a series of small diameter pipes that can be installed without tearing up streets or trenching yards. STEP’s biggest selling point is that it’s less than half as expensive for homeowners to hook up as a standard sewer connection."
"In the early 1990s, Bethel Heights, Ark., was a community of only about 700 people. With corporate giants such as Wal-Mart and Tyson Foods headquartered nearby, however, the city had the potential for tremendous growth. A major factor limiting such growth was the city’s reliance on individual septic tanks for wastewater treatment, plus a required minimum lot size of 3⁄4 acre. Then, in 1999, the state of Arkansas passed a law allowing property owners to de-annex from one city and into another if the original city was unable to provide essential utilities, including wastewater services. In a relatively short amount of time, Bethel Heights was faced with a loss of tax revenue from de-annexations that threatened its very existence.
"… there was no time to begin the lengthy process of applying for federal grants and loans. Instead, Bethel Heights chose to install an Orenco effluent sewer, along with an AdvanTex textile treatment system and subsurface dispersal via drip irrigation."
"When it came to solving the problem of failing septic systems and soil that wouldn’t percolate, residents of Fulton, Alabama, were in a bit of a jam. High groundwater levels are prevalent for eight to 10 months of the year… and septic system failures were rampant. Frustrated residents of this town of almost 400 had even resorted to draining wastewater from their homes straight into nearby ditches. But Mike Norris knew it didn’t have to be that way. A life-long resident of Fulton, Norris had served on the city council for 12 years prior to becoming mayor in 1998. With a background in water treatment, he knew there had to be better options for his town, so he began to research the possibilities.
"Once he had decided on a STEP system as the solution to Fulton’s wastewater crisis, Norris armed himself with photos of the city’s dire situation and began his quest for funding. After discussions with a variety of state and federal officials, and ultimately making several trips to Washington, D.C., Norris obtained a combination of grants and loans … that allowed Fulton to provide wastewater service for all residents plus 30 customers outside of city limits."
"Among the convenient camping facilities nearby [to Lake Wanaka, New Zealand] is Glendhu Bay Holiday Park, which offers more than 400 individual campsites, in addition to cabins and accommodation at the lodge. Lake Wanaka is a source of drinking water for the surrounding areas, and there was a risk of contamination from the park’s old and failing wastewater systems.
"By its very nature, the park experienced dramatic fluctuations in wastewater flow, based on the number of seasonal campers. A further challenge was that campgrounds, as a rule, tend to generate higher-strength waste … The Queenstown Lakes District Council sought an effective wastewater solution that could not only handle these unique design considerations, but also offer low whole-life costs."
"Certification exams often stand as obstacles to operators’ advancement. Exam failure rates can be relatively high, and some operators fail exams on repeated tries. An operators’ group in Oregon is looking to remedy that by offering comprehensive two-day review classes for those seeking certifications for wastewater treatment plant and collection system operations.
"… Steve Miles, a systems asset manager with Orenco Systems Inc. and an Oregon Grade IV certified operator, is a member of the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality’s Operator Certification Advisory Committee and worked with the UBOS [Umpqua Basin Operators Section] group to develop the review classes, which are open to operators all around the state."
"In 2011, the owners of Castle Resources, which purchased the Granduc copper mine in northern British Columbia, Canada, were looking for a wastewater treatment solution.
"… The camp needed a portable system that would not only provide excellent wastewater treatment for the environmentally sensitive area, but could also withstand the harsh conditions there.
"…[An] AX-Mobile system was installed quickly and was operational eight weeks after initial contact was made. Effluent quality meets permit limits, and the system requires little O&M oversight."
"BGP Intl., a seismic surveying firm, needed portable wastewater treatment systems for a series of 500-person remote camps in Kurdistan, Iraq. Units needed to be robust enough to meet treatment limits with minimal maintenance and simple operation.
"After viewing a similar system in operation at a mining site in Texas, BGP chose two (Orenco AX-Mobile) portable wastewater treatment systems. The plug-and-play system produces effluent suitable for reuse (subject to local regulations) and is easy to ship, set, operate and move."
" ... The EPA estimates that replacing our ailing infrastructure will cost around $298 billion over the next 20 years. But onsite or decentralized wastewater treatment offers an inherently sustainable alternative. Wastewater doesn't have to travel long distances, reducing pumping energy and the chance for contamination via leaky pipes. Some systems require very little (or no) energy to operate. Treated effluent (the liquid portion of wastewater) recharges groundwater, or can even be used for irrigation or toilet flushing, which reduces the demand for potable water ... As communities contemplate how to replace aging systems, and as people become more concerned about water security, interest in onsite systems is likely to spike."
"The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that almost $289 billion in capital improvements for wastewater will be required over the next 20 years—and three-quarters of that amount is needed for 'big pipe' problems. WWD Managing Editor Elisabeth Lisican recently spoke with Grant Denn, senior manager of engineering projects for Orenco Systems Inc., about these problems and some viable solutions ...
" ... Lisican: What are some benefits of decentralized wastewater treatment systems as a solution to these [big-pipe] problems?
"Denn: The main benefits are the low lifecycle costs and environmental stewardship. Decentralized systems are ideal for a smaller customer base, and they are environmentally friendly due to the elimination of inflow and infiltration, low power consumption, and low O&M costs. The whole system is watertight, and primary treatment (of solids) occurs on lot at the point of generation; so treating and reusing the remaining water is simplified and energy- and water-efficient."
" ... The Audubon Society sought to construct an environmental education center in the Ernest E. Debs Regional Park in Los Angeles, CA, to serve as a model of green architecture and the first Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum-rated facility in the world. One of the criteria in doing that was a wastewater reuse option. Enter Steve Braband, company president of BioSolutions, a company that provides products and services for the wastewater industry, specializing in providing complete site-specific packages for decentralized wastewater, one of which is an Orenco-manufactured AdvanTex Textile Treatment System.
"The Audubon Society got the city’s approval to go off of the sewer grid to capture, treat, and reuse wastewater with the system. The quality of the treated water is high enough to be reused for subsurface drip irrigation.
"In January 2004, the Audubon Society earned 53 LEED points and was awarded the first Platinum rating in the history of the LEED program. High marks came through the use of the efficiency of the AdvanTex wastewater treatment system. Of particular note is that the center was designed to use 70% less water than a comparable conventional building and that the wastewater is being treated onsite."
" ... How to deal with wastewater at The Summit, which has been designed as a flagship sustainability project for the BSA (Boy Scouts of America), presented a challenge. The solution: graywater would be processed on site in a manner that would not only have the lowest impact, but offer the highest yield in beneficial use by treating water from each building’s showers and sinks for use in toilet flushing.
"Orenco Systems was selected to provide AdvanTex AX-RT advanced wastewater treatment. Clear, odorless, reusable effluent is produced through a pre-packaged 'plug and play' AX20 wastewater treatment system. UV disinfection also is available for the system."
"As demand for sites at a mobile home park in Cedar Point, N.C., developed, the owners added more spaces with sewer connections. The increasing volume eventually overwhelmed the low-pressure pipe drainfield in the center of 96 lots.
"Pumping the 5,000-gallon septic tank every other day prevented ponding and odors. During the system’s permit renewal, the Carteret County Health Department inspector identified the situation and issued a consent decree.
"President Greg Mayfield of Southern Water and Soil in Zephyrhills, Fla., worked with Orenco Systems’ distributor Steve Barry of AQWA in Wilson, N.C., to design a replacement system. They chose AdvanTex technology partially due to space restrictions, but primarily to reduce nutrient loading to protect sensitive aquatic life in the adjacent Intercoastal Waterway."
"The City of Lacey, Wash., has operated a gravity sewer for decades with an understanding that customer satisfaction and low life-cycle costs are the result of a well-balanced operations and maintenance (O&M) program. Too little maintenance leads to premature equipment failure and dissatisfied customers. However, too much maintenance leads to high costs. An early adopter of septic tank effluent pumping (STEP) sewers, the city worked with its STEP equipment manufacturer to develop O&M protocols that provided a similar balance between maintenance and cost-effectiveness for STEP systems."
"No one knows it all. Not in life, and not in the complex world of wastewater treatment. Nearly every day I talk to industry practitioners — from front-line operators and engineers to PhD’s and CEOs — and I’m reminded that we’re all at different points on the learning curve. For those who aren’t well-versed in secondary (biological) wastewater treatment and the differences between traditional suspended-growth processes and attached-growth processes, this article is for you.
"An assist comes from Orenco Systems’ Grant Denn, Senior Manager – Engineering Projects, who provided a 'layman’s description' of how the technologies differ (from his perspective as a supplier of attached-growth solutions). For balance, as well as a bit more technicality, I also consulted research papers evaluating the two processes. It remains, however, a '101' — plainspoken and hopefully helpful."
Awards and Recognition
- Top Projects Award, Water & Wastes Digest, Vero Beach, Florida, Orenco Sewer.
- SHARP Program Completion Award: Orenco recently completed OSHA’s Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP), a five-year certification program for companies that are committed to ensuring a safe workplace for their employees.
- Best Performing Technology, Maryland Department of the Environment, AdvanTex Treatment Systems.
- First Approved Nitrogen-Reducing
On-Lot System, Verified by NSF, Pennsylvania Technology Verification Program, AdvanTex Treatment Systems.
- ACEC Diamond Award East Salem, Pennsylvania, AdvanTex Treatment System.
- World's Best Environmental Development, EcoVillage at Currumbin, Australia, Effluent Sewer and AdvanTex Treatment System.
- Qualified, Green Building Council's LEED Silver Rating, Esther's Island Retreat, Nantucket, Massachusetts, AdvanTex Treatment Systems.
- First Effluent Sewer System in Ireland, Kiltillane, Templemore, Co. Tipperary, Orenco Effluent Sewer and AdvanTex Treatment System.
- First Effluent Sewer System in Alberta, Habitat Acres, AB, Canada, Orenco Effluent Sewer and AdvanTex Treatment System.
- Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Detroit, Illinois, AdvanTex Treatment System.
- One of Portland Business Journal's "100 Fastest-Growing Companies in Oregon."
- Selected for NDWRCDP Case Studies, Decentralized Wastewater Systems, Mobile, Alabama, Including Orenco Effluent Sewers and AdvanTex Treatment Systems.
- GBC's First LEED Platinum-Rated Building, Audubon Education Center, Los Angeles, California, AdvanTex Treatment System.
- AIA's "Top 10 Green Buildings 2002,"Island wood Environmental Learning Center, Bainbridge Island, Washington, AdvanTex Treatment System.
- Nova Scotia's Municipal InNOVA Award, Little Dover, Nova Scotia, Orenco Effluent Sewer System.
- Vermont Engineering's Grand Award, Warren Elementary School, Warren, Vermont, AdvanTex Treatment System.
- Statewide Demonstration Project, Alternative Wastewater Systems in Illinois, New Minden, Illinois, Orenco Effluent Sewer System.