Designer/Engineer Updates

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


12/15/11 Update

New AdvanTex AX-Greywater Brochure

A "Merit Badge" In Greywater

As greywater systems have increased in popularity, Orenco's AdvanTex Treatment Systems have been increasingly specified for these kinds of re-use applications. Our largest system to-date is the one that's currently being installed at the Boy Scouts of America's new, National Jamboree site in West Virginia. AdvanTex AX-RTs will be treating greywater from 117 separate shower/bathhouse facilities, spread out over the 10,000-acre (4047 ha) campground, to be re-used for toilet-flushing, saving a quarter-million gallons of water, per day!

According to Eric Lanning, Orenco's project manager, AdvanTex won the Boy Scout's RFP after first winning the bid for – and producing – a successful demo project. "This is probably one of the largest greywater applications that you'll ever come across, and it fits the Boy Scout's goal of demonstrating eco-friendly camping," said Lanning.

Plans for another Boy Scout camp using AdvanTex for greywater treatment were featured in the August issue of "Plumbing Engineer" magazine.

For more information about our greywater treatment systems, read our new AX-Greywater brochure, Or, to order a hard copy, go to our Request Literature page (and select "AX-Greywater" under "Brochures").

AX-RT Grade Extensions

AX-RT Grade Extension

The AdvanTex AX-RT, Orenco's pre-packaged, plug-and-play residential treatment system, is now available with a 6-inch or 12-inch tall (150-mm or 300-mm tall) fiberglass grade ring extension. Since we began offering the AX-RT, we've had numerous requests for these.

Grade extensions can be used in applications where a deep bury is necessary due to site constraints. They are also ideal for repair sites where the existing septic tank is too deep for gravity flow to a standard AX-RT. Grade extensions can be factory-installed right onto the RT, or grade extension kits can be purchased for field installations. For more information, call Orenco at 800-348-9843 or +1-541-459-4449.

Recirc Ratio Info

Recirc ratio - pump timer settings

Although Orenco’s “Operator News” newsletter is intended for system operators, it has good information for designers and engineers too, such as a recent article on recirc ratios.

The recirc ratio is the amount of effluent recirculated back into the treatment system’s recirculation tank compared to the amount of effluent discharged from the system. The recirc ratio helps to provide the right environment in the treatment media for the bacteria that make treatment happen. It also sets and maintains a good balance of food-to-microorganisms in the media.

Recirc ratios are controlled by adjustments to the pump timer settings, based on flow data. Recirc ratios usually fall between 2:1 and 6:1. Orenco’s factory-default setting for recirc ratios in AdvanTex Systems is 4:1. However, with normal strength influent, a ratio of 3:1 can also work well.

Typically, the recirc ratio shouldn't exceed 6:1. In some cases, however, a recirc ratio higher than 6:1 can help meet permit limits and prevent odor problems. Two-stage systems with very strict nutrient limits, for example, might even require recirc ratios of 10:1 or higher. But unnecessarily high recirc ratios can cause problems. For one thing, they increase energy use and electricity costs. Unnecessarily high recirc ratios can also deplete alkalinity enough to lower pH levels below acceptable limits within the system if sufficient alkalinity isn’t available. And low influent alkalinity inhibits nutrient removal, interfering with the ability to … again … meet permit limits.

On the other hand, an excessively low recirc ratio can cause problems too. For example, a recirc ratio of 2:1 may not provide sufficient aeration for the treatment bacteria, causing poor treatment. It can also create anaerobic conditions that lead to odor control issues. As always, facility permit limits and influent wastewater chemistry dictate setting requirements. For more information on recirc ratios, timer settings, or general questions about media filters and nutrient reduction, contact Orenco at 800-348-9843 or +1-541-459-4449.

Orenco Expands International Presence

Anthoussa Beach Hotel Beach
Photo courtesy of Anthoussa Hotels -

This year has been a good one for Orenco’s international division, with its highest annual sales to date. “We dedicated more resources to international business in 2011, and it has paid off,” says Geoff Salthouse, Regional Sales Manager of the international team. Orenco's AdvanTex AX-Max and AX-Mobile products have been especially popular solutions for international clients. Recent installations range from a hospital in Angola, Africa, to a mining camp in remote northern Canada. The variety of Orenco’s products and configurations allows for scalable, affordable, and effective treatment, regardless of the terrain or environmental conditions in a particular location.

The International Region has added new points of distribution in the Caribbean, Central America, and South America, and welcomed new staff to our Sutherlin, Oregon headquarters. Sales engineers and account managers have spoken at conferences, exhibited at tradeshows, and conducted trainings in many areas of the world, and new document translations are available in Spanish, Portuguese, and French.

The rest of our AdvanTex product line is doing well internationally, also. For example, check out the updated Anthoussa Beach Hotel case study on an AX100 system installed (and later expanded) at a resort in Stalis, Crete, Greece. If you have an international project you’d like to discuss, please contact our international team at +1-541-459-4449.

11/16/11 Update

Literature Request Link

Commercial-Scale Treatment Packages

Set, plumb, wire, and go! Orenco’s complete, fully-plumbed wastewater treatment plants for commercial properties and communities – the AdvanTex AX-Max™ and the AdvanTex AX-Mobile™ – are now being shipped all over the world.

If you didn’t see our AX-Max at WEFTEC, you can see a photo of its “sister product” – the AX-Mobile – on the cover of this month’s WaterWorld magazine. Like all AdvanTex Treatment Systems, the Max and the Mobile produce re-use quality effluent while using less than 2 kWh of electricity per 1000 treated gallons (3.785 m3). They’re pre-plumbed and – because they combine treatment, recirculation, and discharge into a single modular unit – they’re easy to install, above-ground or below.

We’ve developed new AX-Max and AX-Mobile brochures that describe applications, performance, benefits, and recent projects. You can order them from our “Request Literature” page, under the “Brochures” heading.

Orenco's Awards and Recongnitions Video

The Video We Didn't Show at WEFTEC

It took us so long to create an oh-so-clever cutaway display of a 20' AX-Max for WEFTEC that we never got our video finished in time for the show. So here it is. This five-minute movie highlights award-winning and/or notable projects using Orenco equipment from 2000 to 2011. It ends with the Mt. Union, Iowa, AdvanTex project – in a two-stage, nutrient-reducing configuration – which was cited by the judges when singling out AdvanTex for the 2011 WEF Innovative Technology Award.

To send us a quick e-mail about YOUR upcoming wastewater treatment project, click here.

Large Multi-Purpose Fiberglass Structures Now Available

Orenco Fiberglass Large Multi-Purpose Structures

In addition to manufacturing commercial-scale wastewater treatment systems, like the AX-Max and the AX-Mobile, Orenco is now manufacturing and selling large-scale fiberglass products (up to 42' x 7.5' x 8') for a variety of applications:

  • water/wastewater tanks
  • solar hot water tanks
  • lift station buildings and wet wells
  • controls buildings
  • digesters
  • architectural panels

“We’re vacuum-infusing some of the largest fiberglass products in the world,” said Eric Ball, VP of Product Development. “It’s a complex process without a lot of margin for error. When you’re making a 10,000-pound part, you don’t want to be throwing any bad ones away.”

In 2009, Orenco acquired a 130,000 sq ft (1.2 ha) building in Winchester, Oregon, for the express purpose of manufacturing “big parts.” “This building gave us the space – including the vertical space – to make this kind of manufacturing possible,” said Jeff Ball, VP of Operations. “Plus, the building came equipped with all the necessary equipment, such as large bridge cranes. And, of course, we have the trained staff to do the job.”

For more information about large-scale fiberglass structures, call or e-mail Eric Ball, x219, 800-348-9843, 541-459-4449,

Orenco's Biotube PV48 Pump Vault

New Vault For Smaller Diameter, Low-Profile Tanks

Orenco has added a new 48" high (1219 mm) vault to our line of small-diameter pump vaults.

The PV48 was designed to fit inside the Roth® FRALO tank used in some effluent sewer systems. But it’s equally at home in any shallow or low-profile concrete tank where a small diameter pump vault is required.

The PV48 is only 13.5 inches (343 mm) in diameter and can fit in a tank access port as small as 16 inches (406 mm). It has the same type of easy-to-service Biotube® effluent filter used in our PVU and PV55 series, removing two-thirds of suspended solids, on average. Download our PV Series Tech Data Sheet, or contact us for questions.


9/21/11 Update

AX-RT Product Line Expanded and Improved!

AdvanTex AX20-RTUV AX25-RT

Orenco®’s AX-RT line of pre-packaged, “plug & play” wastewater treatment systems for residential applications has expanded to include the new AX25-RT unit for 1-6 bedroom homes. There’s also a new AX20-RT equipped with our Orenco AXUV unit for jurisdictions requiring disinfection.

We’ve redesigned all of the units for better performance and easier O&M, too. A simplified manifold design and Orenco Spin Nozzles provide improved effluent distribution over the textile media for better treatment. And, for easy access, all of the components that are commonly removed for servicing and maintenance are now located on the same end of the unit.

The AX-RT’s simplified design reduces costs for excavation, installation, and O&M, providing AdvanTex®-quality treatment in a simple-to-install package. See the latest AX-RT Product Flyer to learn more about the expanded RT line. You can also download AX-RT technical documents and AX20-RTUV technical documents.

Orenco's Nutrient-Reduction Technology Spotlighted at WEF Forum on Oct. 18WEFTEC 2011 Innovation Technology Award for nutrient-removal

The Water Environment Federation recently honored Orenco with its 2011 “Innovative Technology Award” for the nutrient-removal capabilities of its AdvanTex® Textile Treatment Systems. Tyler Molatore, Orenco's Community Systems Program Manager, will be describing the system at WEFTEC's "Innovative Technology Forum" in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Oct 18, 9:40 am, in Kentia Hall.

"Many communities face increasingly stringent nutrient-reduction limits for wastewater discharges," said Molatore. "For example, Mt. Union, Iowa needed to be able to meet the Iowa Department of Natural Resources NPDES permit requirements with low nutrient loads, specifically a low ammonia limit. Using a two-stage AdvanTex Treatment System, Mt. Union is now producing effluent with <10 mg/L BOD/TSS and <1 mg/L Ammonia-Nitrogen."

For more information, read Orenco's AdvanTex AX-Polishing Brochure or contact If you're going to be attending WEFTEC 2011, you can also stop by Booth 4207 and visit with any of Orenco's systems engineers.

Energy Trust of Oregon Awards first $400 Cash Incentive for Orenco's AdvanTex SystemEnergy Trust of Oregon $400 Cash Incentive for AdvanTex

A home owner living outside of Portland is the first recipient of a $400 check from Energy Trust of Oregon for purchasing an energy-efficient wastewater system: Orenco's AdvanTex Treatment System. To our knowledge, the cash incentive is the first of its kind for wastewater systems in the U.S.

“The annual electricity cost for our AdvanTex Treatment System averages $17,” said Sam Carter, AdvanTex program manager. “The annual electricity cost for other systems can run as high as $500. Collectively, Oregon property owners — and their electric utilities — can save more than one million kilowatts of electricity each year by installing an energy-efficient wastewater system. That’s why Energy Trust is offering this incentive.”

According to David Nelson, Orenco’s regional sales manager, Energy Trust’s incentive will help to level the playing field between manufacturers. “Wastewater systems that use a lot of electricity are typically $500 or $1,000 cheaper to buy, up front,” said Nelson. “And nobody likes spending money on a wastewater system. It’s not like buying beautiful countertops or a cool barbeque. So it’s tempting for people to choose a system that’s $500 or $1,000 cheaper, even if they know the electricity costs will be higher. With this $400 incentive, buyers will have another good reason to take energy savings into consideration.” Over the life of a wastewater system, Nelson explains, homeowners who purchase energy-efficient systems can literally save thousands of dollars.

To find out more about AdvanTex systems and Energy Trust’s cash incentive, visit Energy Trust's website. Or call the Orenco sales staff at 800-348-9843 or +1-541-459-4449.


8/26/11 Update

See Our Self-Contained AX-Max (and Mobile) in L.A.!

If you'd like to see Orenco's new "plug & play" AdvanTex® AX-Max™ Treatment System, you can visit the restrooms at the famous Pt. Dume beach park in Malibu, where three AX-Max's have recently been installed by L.A. County. Or you can skip the beach traffic and just stop by Booth 4207 at WEFTEC 2011, October 17-19, where we'll have a 21-ft (6.4 m) AX-Max on display.

The full-sized 42-ft AX-Max has about three times the capacity of an AX-100, so it's cheaper to install than multiple AX-100's. Each 42-ft AX-Max can handle 15,000 gpd (56,780 L) when treating wastewater from a primary tank. And it produces the same re-use quality effluent and still uses just 1-2 kWh per 1000 treated gallons. At Pt. Dume, half-sized units have been configured in two stages, for ammonia-polishing ... a configuration that just won WEFTEC's 2011 Innovative Technology Award.  Orenco representatives will accept the award at the show and will be describing the technology at the "Innovative Technology Forum," Tuesday, Oct. 18, at 9:40 am.

EcoCenter in San Francisco, CA
The largest AX-Mobile unit serves up to 150
persons, weighs 10,000 lbs (4,536 kg), and is
easy to ship and set.

When we add a catwalk surrounding the AX-Max and a control panel cabinet on the end, we have Orenco's new AX-Mobile™-- a rapidly deployable, pre-packaged treatment system serving up to 150 persons per full-sized unit. The AX-Mobile is ideal for remote sanitation facilities, military installations, mining camps and emergency sanitation. It can be shipped by truck, rail, cargo container, or aircraft.  

The AX-Mobile provides excellent wastewater treatment in any climate or topography, and systems have now been installed in a variety of locations, soils, and climates.

The AX-Mobile at the Alyeska Pump Station on the Alaska pipeline is installed above-ground on permafrost, operating in temperatures ranging from -60° to 90° F. It includes a  control room installed above the unit, so operators are protected from extreme temperatures. Effluent quality averages <7 mg/L cBOD5 and TSS. You can read the Alyeska Case Study here.

Two AX-Mobile units at the Jalousie Plantation resort on the Caribbean Island of St. Lucia are sited on rocky, volcanic soil. They were quickly deployed and installed to temporarily replace a wastewater system destroyed by Hurricane Tomas in 2010. (Installation was completed 2 days after the units arrived on the island!) Both units are slated for future integration into the resort’s decentralized wastewater infrastructure. You can read the Jalousie Plantation Case Study here.

To find out more, read our new AX-Mobile brochure that features our latest installation at the Carrizo Springs Mining Camp in Texas. Or call the Orenco sales staff at 800-348-9843 or +1-541-459-4449.

New UV Unit for AdvanTex Systems

Orenco AXUV
Orenco's new AXUV Disinfection Unit
kills 99.999% of bacteria and viruses
in wastewater treated to
secondary standards.

If you design residential or commercial AdvanTex Treatment Systems in a state or province that requires disinfection before dispersal, Orenco now offers an improved UV disinfection unit. The Orenco AXUV Disinfection Unit is more effective, more durable, more safe, and more serviceable than any other onsite UV unit on the market.

The Orenco AXUV uses no chemicals and has no moving parts. Treated effluent flows by gravity through the housing and around the UV lamp where it is disinfected in a 360-degree contact zone. In side-by-side NSF® equivalency testing, the AXUV reduced bacteria by 99.999% (5 logs), meeting or exceeding the performance of other residential UV disinfection units.

A Teflon sleeve that minimizes buildup and reduces service intervals protects the UV lamp. The unit requires yearly cleaning and a lamp replacement every two years.

The power ballast for the unit and a lamp current sensor are housed in the system’s VeriComm or MVP control panel – outside of the wet well – to protect the UV unit’s electronic components. The control panel prevents discharge of non-disinfected effluent due to lamp failure or control panel failure. The current sensor monitors lamp function and, in the event of lamp failure, the discharge pump is automatically disabled.

An Orenco UV Disinfection Unit for other secondary treatment systems will be available soon. For more information on the Orenco AXUV or Orenco UV Disinfection Units, call the Orenco sales staff at 800-348-9843 or +1-541-459-4449.

It’s Hip to be Square

Orenco Spin Nozzle
Better dispersal, fewer nozzles -- square is finally cool!

AdvanTex AX100, AX-Max, and AX-Mobile Treatment Systems now have an improved manifold design using Orenco Spin Nozzles. The Orenco Spin Nozzle sprays in a square-shaped pattern that evenly disperses effluent across more of the textile media than spray nozzles with circular patterns. Better dispersal can lead to better treatment because more of the textile is being used. And the larger spray pattern means fewer nozzles, a simplified manifold design, and easier maintenance.

Orenco Spin Nozzle

We’re now selling retrofit kits for existing AX100 installations. The kit comes with Spin Nozzles, an upgraded and streamlined manifold, and splashguards. For more information, call the Orenco sales staff at 800-348-9843 or +1-541-459-4449.

4/1/11 Update

Orenco Project Wins U.S. Environmental Award

EcoCenter in San Francisco, CA
EcoCenter in San Francisco, CA
Photo courtesy of

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency honored San Francisco's new 100% off-the-grid EcoCenter with the 2010 Environmental Justice Achievement Award.

The 1,500 sq ft EcoCenter includes solar panels, a vegetative roof, rainwater catchment, and Orenco's AdvanTex AX20 Treatment System. The AX20 is followed by a constructed wetland and UV disinfection, before the treated water is recycled for landscape irrigation. Since the entire system has been installed inside the building, above-ground, Program Manager Tracy Zhu regularly explains the treatment process to school groups and volunteers in easy-to-understand terms.

"Everything is built around the wastewater treatment system," said Laurie Schoeman, project manager and
now a director of New York Sun Works. "It's the primary function of this building ... It's the baseline function of a 'built environment.'"

According to System Designer Noadiah Eckman, the city's permit requires that the system meet "recreational standards" because of the exposed indoor wetland, as well as the "surface flow wetland" standard. "We're off to a strong start," says Eckman. "Sampling results from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission shows total coliform of only 100 MPN/100 mL and e. coli of <100 MPN/100 mL."

Orenco Project Wins Canadian Environmental Award

Victoria, PEI
Victoria, PEI Aerial
Photo courtesy of

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities presented the seaside community of Victoria, PEI, with its 2011 Sustainable Community Award in the Water category. The award honored the community, as well as its consulting engineer, Kelly Galloway of Engineering Technologies Canada Ltd, for its innovative and affordable wastewater solution, a solution that ...

  • eliminated a public health hazard caused by failing septic systems,
  • eliminated discharge to Victoria Harbor,
  • is reducing nitrate, and
  • is reducing water consumption.

Their solution? An Orenco Effluent Sewer, followed by a cluster of 10 AdvanTex AX-100 Treatment Systems capable of handling highly-variable seasonal flows: from 4,000 gpd (15,000 Lpd) during the winter to 15,000 gpd (57,000 Lpd) during the summer.

Community of Victoria's Wastewater Treatment System
Victoria's Wastewater Treatment System

Installed in 2008, the system is producing 6/5 BOD/TSS and exceeding treatment requirements for TN. Total project cost for 63 connections was $2.1M ($2.5M CDN); annual rates are $515/EDU.

Community Administrator Hilary Price said that the wastewater system "has been a stimulus for expansion in our tourism businesses and has allowed our residential population to dramatically increase." Click here for a Victoria PEI Case Study. You can also download our standard brochures describing Victoria's collection and treatment technologies:

California Beach Projects Showcase AdvanTex Reliability 

Surfrider Beach, Malibu, CA
Surfrider Beach, Malibu, CA

The famous Surfrider Beach in Malibu is one of 13 beach parks in Southern California that are being upgraded by L.A. County with AdvanTex wastewater treatment systems. "We started these projects three years ago, working with the county's Public Works department and Orenco's engineers," said Steve Braband of Biosolutions, Inc., an Orenco distributor. "Surfrider, which was started up in March, is the sixth completed project. Three additional jobs are scheduled to be completed at Point Dume by Memorial Day."

Because of their proximity to the ocean, the beach parks are using a number of Orenco technologies to produce the cleanest possible effluent, before discharging it underground: AX20s, AX100s, AX-MAXs, two-stage configurations for ammonia-reduction, sand traps, alkalinity chem feeds, UV disinfection, and pressurized drainfields.  "Surfrider was a real challenge," said Braband. "The county wanted a sea wall to prevent the pressurized drainfield from washing away during storms. But the surfers were afraid a sea wall would change the wave patterns. Ultimately, we came up with a new location for the drainfield within a very tight footprint."

Braband is no stranger to placing AdvanTex systems in high-profile and/or environmentally sensitive areas. He's also provided equipment to the Audubon Center at Debs Park, Malibu Creek Plaza, the Descanso Gardens in La Canada Flintridge, the Topanga Library, and the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. According to Tristian Bounds, Orenco's R&D Engineer, AdvanTex is a good match for these kinds of projects. "AdvanTex systems reliably produce clear water without producing odors. Plus they're installed subsurface and have a small footprint, so they're easy to disguise. In fact, Steve sent us samples of the beach sand and the parking lot asphalt for the AX-MAXs going into the Point Dume project, so we could match the lid paint to disguise the treatment system even more."

For more information about another Orenco wastewater project, at a beach resort half-way 'round the world, visit Orenco's Solutions for Hotels and Resorts page.



12/15/11 Update

  • A "Merit Badge" In Greywater
  • AX-RT Grade Extensions
  • Recirc Ratio Info
  • Orenco Expands International Presence

11/16/11 Update

  • Commercial-Scale Treatment Packages
  • The Video We Didn't Show at WEFTEC
  • Large Multi-Purpose Fiberglass Structures Now Available
  • New Vault for Smaller Diameter, Low-Profile Tanks

9/21/11 Update

  • AX-RT Product Line Expanded and Improved! 
  • Orenco's Nutrient-Reduction Technology Spotlighted at WEF Forum on Oct. 18
  • Energy Trust of Oregon Awards first $400 Cash Incentive for Orenco's AdvanTex System

8/26/11 Update

  • See Our Self-Contained AX-Max
    (and Mobile) in L.A.! 
  • New UV Unit for AdvanTex Systems
  • It’s Hip to be Square

4/1/11 Update

  • Orenco Project Wins U.S.
    Environmental Award
  • Orenco Project Wins Canadian
    Environmental Award
  • California Beach Projects Showcase AdvanTex Reliability