Designer/Engineer Updates Archive

Welcome to Orenco's Designer/Engineer Update. Here you'll find more information about items from our e-mailed newsletter.


12/23/10 Update

Affordable Blow-Molded Tank Now Available for Orenco Effluent Sewers

Orenco Tank Adapter and Roth Fralo Tank

Orenco and Roth Global Plastics have just signed an exclusive agreement to allow Orenco to sell Roth HDPE blow-molded tanks into Orenco Effluent Sewers in North America. HDPE blow-molded tanks provide a cost-effective, lightweight, consistent, and watertight vessel that simplifies the installation process. All Roth tanks used in effluent sewer applications will be sourced through Orenco.

“We’ve been evaluating thermoplastic tanks for years, and this is the only one that has ever met Orenco’s specifications,” said Grant Denn, Engineered Systems Manager.

The Roth tanks are being fitted with a new, Orenco-designed tank adapter that provides a watertight, structural joint with appropriate risers. According to VP of Product Development Eric Ball, “We require watertight tanks in all our systems, including risers, joints, and penetrations. To create a watertight, structural joint between the tank and riser, we developed a Roth Tank Adapter Kit that includes the new tank adapter, stainless steel screws, and sealant.”

For more information about Orenco Effluent Sewers, click here.

Campgrounds, Rest Areas, Recreational Facilities: All Ideal for AdvanTex

Orenco Case Studies -- Recreational Facilities

Engineers designing wastewater projects for campgrounds and recreational facilities are discovering that “packed bed filter” technologies in general — and AdvanTex in particular — are ideal. Consequently, they’ve installed AdvanTex systems on more than 100 projects. These kinds of projects have special design considerations:

  • Highly variable flows
  • Prolonged periods of low flows or disuse (seasonal use)
  • Environmentally sensitive locations
  • Minimal maintenance requirements

AdvanTex filters start up quickly and can handle a wide range of flows. In fact, unlike more conventional activated sludge technologies, AdvanTex actually performs even better at low loading rates.

In addition, because AdvanTex systems produce outstanding effluent (<10/10 BOD/TSS, with significant TN and NH3-N reduction), they can meet the strict discharge limits often found in environmentally sensitive locales or on projects with NPDES requirements. And because they have a small footprint, don’t use a noisy blower, and don’t produce odors, they’re practically invisible to visitors. Finally, they can be easily maintained; so no advanced operator training is required.

The Bee Run Day Use Area on Sutton Lake in West Virginia is a good example. For a case study on Bee Run, click here. Orenco is currently working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on another recreational facility in West Virginia, as well.

Get more information about Orenco’s campground solutions here.

Talking to Your VCOM Panel Just Got Easier

Free Bluetooth Software for Wastewater and Septic Systems

For the past several years, Orenco has offered a Bluetooth device and software program — BT-VCOM — for wireless connectivity and real-time communication with Orenco’s VeriComm (VCOM) remote telemetry control panels (used in residential applications).

Recently, BT-VCOM’s functionality and graphical interfaces have been improved. You can now upload programs and software to VCOM boards and check phone or internet connections at the site. Analytical functions have been upgraded too. Plus BT-VCOM software is now available for Mac and Windows PC’s, as well as for Windows Mobile (versions 5, 6, and 2003).

If you’re a current VCOM user, you can download the latest version of BT-VCOM by logging onto and clicking on the “Help and Resources” link. Then click the link for BT-VCOM. While you’re there, be sure to download the newly revised version of the VeriComm User Manual. If you just want more information about BT-VCOM, call an Orenco Tech Sales Rep at 800-348-9843 or 541-459-4449.

Free “TCOM Viewer” Now in Beta-Testing

Free TCOM SCADA Viewer

A user-friendly “TCOM Viewer” Windows Application for Orenco’s affordable SCADA line of real-time telemetry control panels is now being beta-tested and will be available after the first of the year.

“One reason why our TCOM commercial-scale SCADA panels are so affordable is that the fancy software interfaces and graphics that help operators view system information remotely have always been an optional ‘add-on,’” said Brent Ballow, Controls Division manager. “Our customers on limited budgets have been able to save money by opting for the generic ‘HyperTerminal’ software that used to come free with every Windows PC. But HyperTerminal is not free any longer, and we knew we could simplify some of the functions. So we’ve been developing a better solution. And it will still be FREE for any functions that were previously possible with HyperTerminal.”

The basic version of Orenco’s new TCOM Viewer will feature:

  • Compatibility with virtually all Orenco TCOM panels
  • New screen color choices for better visibility
  • “Double-click to select” mouse interface for menu items
  • Easy storage of site info for multiple sites
  • Simple, “click and choose” log retrieval with the ability to constrain log data by date
  • Built-in graphing and plotting of log data
  • Easy log data exports to Excel
  • Ability to upload program and firmware to control panels (contact Orenco Controls for more details regarding this function)

According to Ballow, there WILL be an optional user-friendly “Graphic View” available for purchase. For more information and pricing, call one of our Controls Engineers at 800-348-9843 or 541-459-4449.

9/17/10 Update

See the Supersized AX-MAX™ at WEF in New Orleans Oct. 4-6AdvanTex AX-MAX Wastewater Treatment Unit

Orenco is showing a scale model of its latest AdvanTex Textile Treatment System — the AdvanTex-MAX™ Wastewater Treatment Plant— at WEFTEC, Oct. 4-6, Booth #7451.

The AdvanTex-MAX is a modular, fully plumbed wastewater treatment plant for commercial, residential, municipal, and mobile applications. Bury it, berm it, or leave it above-ground to disconnect and redeploy. It's ideal for decentralized applications with medium-to-large flows (5000 gpd and up) and for permits requiring secondary treatment or better, since it can treat blackwater and graywater to re-use levels.

Like all AdvanTex treatment systems, the MAX is easily serviceable and highly energy efficient, using only 3 kWh of electricity per 1000 treated gallons. The AdvanTex-MAX is built inside an insulated fiberglass tank that is durable, lightweight, and watertight. Tanks range from 20 ft to 40 ft in length and can be installed singly or in multi-tank arrays.

Visit Us at West Coast Green in San Francisco, Sept. 30-Oct. 2

Chris Helliwell, Orenco’s Western Regional Account Manager, will be showcasing the environmental benefits of Orenco's technologies at West Coast Green in San Francisco, at the Fort Mason Center.  Stop by and talk with him at booth #544. Or, to set up an appointment, e-mail him at 

New 4-in-1 Control Panel Simplifies InventoryOrenco's 4-in-1 Control Panel

Orenco’s new 4-in-1 control panel is versatile and flexible. It’s allows you to spec a single panel for multiple designs and applications, including ...

  • On-demand dosing
  • Timed dosing
  • 115 volts
  • 230 volts

For installers and service providers, the 4-in-1 control panel means they’ll always have the right panel in stock, in their, truck, or at the job site. For more information, call your local Orenco distributor, or call an Orenco tech sales rep: 800-348-9843.

Updated Custom Controls Brochure Now AvailableOrenco's Custom Controls Brochure

Orenco manufactures more than 20,000 control panels a year, many of which come out of our custom panel shop. We build panels for industrial process controls, as well as for water/wastewater applications and environmental monitoring. Our completely updated Custom Controls brochure includes additional information on VFDs, PLCs, TCOM/SCADA, and more. It also describes the quality control and safety standards we adhere to as both a UL 508A and UL 698A shop.

Order Spanish Versions of Brochures, Manuals, Documents

If you have Spanish-speaking customers, you’ll want to know that a number of our most important brochures and documents have been translated into Spanish and will be available to order by Oct. 1. They include the following:

  • ProSTEP brochure (ProSTEP Sistemas de Bombeo para Efluentes)
  • AdvanTex AX100 brochure (Sistemas de Tratamiento AdvanTex AX100)
  • AdvanTex AX100 O&M Manual (Manual de Operacion y Mantenimiento AdvanTex)
  • AdvanTex AX100 Design Criteria (Criterios de Diseno de AdvanTex: Para Aplicaciones Comerciales y Multifamiliares)
  • Orenco Effluent Sewer brochure (Canerias Para Efluentes Orenco)

And, as a reminder, we still have a Spanish-language version of our basic O&M Manual for residential customers. To order, call an Orenco tech sales rep at 800-348-9843 or +1 (541) 459-4449.

8/9/10 Update

Explore Our New Web SiteVisit Orenco's New Corporate Web Site

Pop the cork! Orenco Systems has just updated its corporate Web site. (And it’s about time!)

As a wastewater system designer or engineer, you may be especially interested in the new Technical Resources and News sections and, of course, the entire Engineered Solutions market area. We've also added a new Regulatory Resources area with state-by-state approval information.

Regulators, Installers Embrace AX20-RT

In the six months since the AdvanTex AX20-RT made its first appearance at the Washington Onsite Sewage Association's 2010 conference, Orenco's "plug & play" advanced textile treatment system has been approved in more than 20 regulatory jurisdictions. Additional approvals are pending in half a dozen others.

"It's being widely accepted in the regulatory community," says Sam Carter, Orenco's Government Relations Manager. "NSF approved the AX20-RT last year as an equivalent to the AX20. So it has a Standard 40 listing, suitable for applications needing BOD/TSS reductions to <10 mg/L and nitrogen-reduction of 60-70 percent or better."

To assess the RT's nitrogen-reduction capabilities under "real-life" conditions, the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) has added the RT to its one-year field trials program. Twelve RTs were installed in a matter of weeks, and MDE subsequently removed any limits on the number of systems that could be installed in the state. "When the regulators saw the product, they saw it really was equivalent to an AX20," said distributor Bob Johnson, Atlantic Solutions. "Same media, pump vault, pump, and control panel."

According to Johnson, designers and their customers lean towards the RT whenever there's an existing tank, discharge pump requirement, small lot, or access issue. And installers lean towards the RT because it can be installed in half-a-day: "They're done by lunch and putting the tools in the truck." Darren Simmie, Orenco's director of sales, agrees. "Many installers are quoting it the way they'd quote the install of a 1000-gal. tank. It's a shallow install, with inlet and outlet plumbing. That's it."

The AX20-RT has been APPROVED in the following jurisdictions:
Alabama, Alberta, Arkansas, British Columbia, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Maryland, Missouri, Nevada County (CA), Oregon, Ohio, Oregon, Sonoma County (CA), South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia

The RT also has approvals PENDING in the following jurisdictions:
Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Tennessee

For more information, contact Orenco at 800-348-9843 or +1-541-459-4449.

Upcoming Trainings at Orenco Cover Community and Residential Design Topics

At our headquarters in Sutherlin, Oregon, we have an AdvanTex Boot Camp, a Control Panels training, and a Pumps training scheduled for August 16-19. Although these are aimed at installers and service providers, they can benefit residential system designers who want to know more about how our systems work.

4/23/2010 Update

Treatment Configurations for Nitrogen Reduction

For commercial-scale projects facing nitrogen requirements, AdvanTex can be used in specific treatment train configurations to meet those stringent limits.

For ammonia (NH3-N) requirements, a Two-Stage AdvanTex system can get the job done, with minimal operator input. Orenco can assist with sizing and historical performance data. See our case studies on Truesdale, Iowa and Class VI Resort, West Virginia for examples.

For total nitrogen (TN) projects, AdvanTex has been partnered with carbonaceous upflow filters to reduce average TN by over 90%. Designers can confidently expect performance below 10 mg/L, like that achieved at Rancho Encantado, New Mexico or Malibu Creek Plaza, California.

To learn more and download case studies, visit our new Nitrogen Solutions page.

Control Panels for Industrial Markets

Orenco's standard and custom control panels are becoming increasingly popular for applications other than water/wastewater. Our industrial panels include motor and valve controls and a variety of functions for energy efficiency, such as variable frequency drives and reduced voltage starters. They also include alarms, monitoring systems, programmable logic, graphical interfaces, touchscreens, etc.

Orenco's industrial controls can be found in facilities that produce heavy equipment, cables, composite products, filtration devices, and more. To spread the word, Orenco Controls managers are heading to PTXi next month -- an international process equipment show -- and they've completed a major update to their Web site: You can go straight to the page about controls for industrial process equipment. Or, to talk shop, contact Jerry Snyder, Sales Manager, at (877) 257-8712 (toll-free in USA) or (541)-459-6917, x273.

Check Out Our New "Green" Case Studies

Projects using Orenco's environmentally sustainable, "green" technologies are earning LEED credits, winning awards, and earning lots of "first of its kind" designations in jurisdictions all over the world. Not to mention producing re-use quality effluent!

We've profiled three of these projects in our new "Green Case Study" series. For the residential market, check out our Esther's Island Retreat case study, which describes a solar-powered AX20 Treatment System on an off-the-grid cottage located on a small island adjacent to Nantucket, Massachusetts.

For the commercial market, check out our Audubon Education Center case study, which describes an AdvanTex Treatment System for an educational facility in Debs Park, Los Angeles, that earned the Green Building Council's first-ever Platinum LEED rating.

For the new development market, check out our Habitat Acres case study, which describes an Orenco Effluent Sewer and AdvanTex AX100 Treatment System for a planned community near Calgary, in Alberta ... the first effluent sewer ever approved in that province.

You can see all these case studies at our Sustainability Advantages Web page.

Also, for more information on how to earn LEED credits for your Orenco-equipped projects, here are two helpful documents:

2/19/10 Update

Introducing AdvanTex AX20-RT: Performs Like AdvanTex,

Installs Like a Tank

Orenco's new AdvanTex AX20-RT Residential Wastewater Treatment System is a completely pre-packaged "plug & play" AX20 that installs as easily as a septic tank. The AX20-RT combines the recirc, treatment, and discharge modules of a standard AX20 system into a single, shallowly buried unit, reducing excavation, installation, and service costs.

The AX20-RT is an economical system for residential sites where an old system has failed but the existing septic tank is still usable. It's also ideal for small sites and those requiring shallow excavations.

The AX20-RT produces the same outstanding, re-use quality effluent produced by a standard AX20 and has been approved by NSF as an AX20-equivalent.

More information, including installation instructions, is available at the AX20-RT page.

Introducing Landscape Lids™:

So Real, You'll Want to Mow, Rake, or Shovel Them

Orenco has developed new Landscape Lids™ with photographic designs that blend into landscaping. Grass, bark mulch, and river rock patterns are available. Like all Orenco's fiberglass lids, Landscape Lids are watertight, strong, and durable. In fact, they can support a 2500-lb wheel load.

Use Landscape Lids to provide a secure covering for septic system risers and irrigation valve boxes. Stainless steel hex-drive screws and hex key are included. For a higher level of protection, tamper-proof bolts are optional.

We have round Landscape Lids with 18-in., 24-in., and 30-in. diameters. We also have rectangular lids for our AdvanTex AX20 and AX100 pods.

So get real! Call your Orenco distributor for details. Or call Orenco at (800) 348-9843.

Dozens of Wineries Choose AdvanTex

Wineries generate high-strength wastewater when they clean their equipment between batches. The AdvanTex Treatment System is well suited for wineries because it can accommodate highly variable flows. Orenco has provided wastewater treatment systems for dozens of wineries.

For example, Bin to Bottle, a custom-crush winery in Napa, California, recently chose an AdvanTex system to pretreat its process water before discharging it to a municipal sewer. Because of the modular nature of the AdvanTex system, Bin to Bottle was able to start operations with a single AX100 pod. As their production volume grew, they added a second and third pod. The system now accommodates design flows of 1500 gpd, with peak flows of 2500 gpd. Wastewater is treated to an average of 98 mg/L BOD5 and 63 mg/L TSS.

To learn more about the design of wastewater treatment systems for wineries, visit our Solutions for Wineries page, where you can download the Bin to Bottle Case Study and contact our engineers.

1/29/10 Update

Orenco's First Effluent Sewer Approved in Australia

An Orenco Effluent Sewer supplied by Innoflow Australia Pty. will be installed this year for Yarra Valley Water, in Victoria, Australia. Yarra Valley Water chose Orenco's system to serve 91 new homes in the town of Kinglake West, one of the communities destroyed by the 2009 bush fires. The Orenco Effluent Sewer won out over several alternatives, including a grinder system.

In lifetime cost, ease of maintenance, and convenience to customers, effluent sewers have many advantages over grinder sewers. We've prepared a document, Considering a Pressure Sewer?, that summarizes these advantages. You can download it and other materials from the Effluent Sewer Collection page on our Web site.

Effluent Sewer vs. Grinder: An Operator's View

The current issue of Orenco's Operator News profiles Scott Monroe, manager of the Southwest Barry County Sewer and Water Authority in Michigan. Scott's system includes both grinder and effluent sewer connections.

"I'm not a big fan of grinders," Monroe said. "We get a lot more callouts with grinders than with STEP systems. The grinders tend to have problems with the cutters or with the control panel, whereas the STEP systems usually just have a dirty effluent filter or a float issue."

Monroe described his preventive maintenance program, which helps keep maintenance costs low by minimizing emergency calls -- something that's hard to do with grinders. "Grinders are harder to maintain," Monroe said. "When there is a problem, you have a very small [reserve] capacity to use your facilities until someone gets there to fix it. The pump is heavy and it may be eight or nine feet deep, so it's not a one-man job to get a grinder pump out of there."

The rest of the Operator News describes the role of turbidity testing in a maintenance program and describes some new products of interest to service providers. If you'd like to receive this occasional publication, e-mail Darren Paschke, Account Manager, at

How to Keep Water Softener Brine Out of Wastewater Systems

When a household water softener backwashes its resin tank, the resulting brine is detrimental not only to septic systems but also to municipal wastewater treatment systems. Orenco and other manufacturers of onsite systems have maintained this for years, based on the experiences of service providers and customers. We'd like to see codes require water softener discharges to be routed around the wastewater system into a dry well or French drain. But manufacturers of water softener devices deny the problem and resist code changes.

Nevertheless, many jurisdictions do prohibit discharge of this brine to household or municipal systems. We've collected a list of them. We also have some documents that describe the problem and explain simple measures homeowners can take to enjoy softened water without discharging brine to the wastewater system. Please look over these documents to acquaint yourself with the issue. For more information about plumbing brine discharge away from septic systems, or for support with modifying codes in your area, contact Orenco.


12/23/10 Update

  • Affordable Blow-Molded Tank Now Available for Orenco Effluent Sewers
  • Campgrounds, Rest Areas, Recreational Facilities: All Ideal for AdvanTex
  • Talking to Your VCOM Panel Just Got Easier
  • Free “TCOM Viewer” Now in Beta-Testing


9/17/10 Update

  • See the Supersized AX-MAX™ at WEF in New Orleans Oct. 4-6
  • Visit Us at West Coast Green in San Francisco, Sept. 30-Oct. 2
  • New 4-in-1 Control Panel Simplifies Inventory
  • Updated Custom Controls Brochure Now Available
  • Order Spanish Versions of Brochures, Manuals, Documents


8/9/10 Update

  • Explore Our New Web Site
  • Regulators, Installers Embrace AX20-RT
  • Upcoming Trainings at Orenco Cover Community and Residential Design Topics


4/23/10 Update

  • Treatment Configurations for Nitrogen Reduction 
  • Control Panels for Industrial Markets
  • Check Out Our New "Green" Case Studies


2/19/10 Update

  • Introducing AdvanTex AX20-RT: Performs Like AdvanTex, Installs Like a Tank
  • Introducing Landscape Lids™: So Real, You'll Want to Mow, Rake, or Shovel Them
  • Dozens of Wineries Choose AdvanTex


1/29/10 Update

  • Orenco's First Effluent Sewer Approved in Australia
  • Effluent Sewer vs. Grinder: An Operator's View
  • How to Keep Water Softener Brine Out of Wastewater Systems