Solutions for Subdivisions

Next time you are looking at a new property, give Orenco a call.  We can help you evaluate the cost of your wastewater solution.

Holly Branch Subdivision, Mobile, Alabama
Operated by South Alabama Utilities

Effluent Sewers Save Developers Money!

Small community sewers are rapidly gaining in popularity and are becoming recognized as the best solution for collecting and transporting wastewater in small to mid-sized communities, new subdivisions, and environmentally sensitive areas.  In addition, small community sewers are often one-fourth to one-half the cost of conventional gravity sewers, and when properly designed, they are easy to install and maintain, require less costly treatment systems, and provide treated effluent that is useful for irrigation.

The economics of effluent sewers are highly favorable to developers, because a majority of costs are either borne by the builder or homeowner and delayed until the individual property is developed.  The following is a breakdown of typical system components and costs:

On-Lot Component – Deferred Capital Expenditure: about 50%

A STEP (Septic Tank Effluent Pump) system—consisting of a watertight septic tank, pump package, and control panel—is installed at each home or commercial building.  The cost of equipment and installation is typically deferred to the builder or homeowner.

Collection Component – Upfront Capital Expenditure: about 12.5%

A small diameter PVC pipe or collection system is installed prior to the building phase and is best done before roads, curbing, driveways, or parking is installed.  The collection system installation cost is typically borne by the developer.

Treatment Component – Upfront and Delayed Capital Expenditure: about 25%

If advanced treatment is required, incremental capacity can be installed for each project phase.  Treatment modules are added as needed to accommodate demand; therefore, a portion of the expense is upfront, but the remaining cost is delayed until effluent treatment demand increases.

Dispersal Component – Upfront and Delayed Capital Expenditure: about 12.5%

As with the treatment component, it is possible to install the dispersal in phases as the project is built-out.  If the effluent is pumped to a municipal treatment plant, the treatment and dispersal cost can be passed forward to the property owner.

Actual system component costs are based on design and local engineering project plans.


Utility-Managed Decentralized Solutions

South Alabama Utilities (SAU) has installed and now operates several Orenco STEP collection and AdvanTex treatment systems to serve the wastewater needs of subdivisions springing up near Mobile, Alabama.   Their experience demonstrates the cost savings offered by utility-managed decentralized solutions and has earned the attention of academic and industry experts.

Centralized Management Makes Good Sense

It makes good environmental and business sense for municipal water and wastewater authorities to expand into centralized management of decentralized onsite or community systems.  Utilities have the proven expertise and ability to manage decentralized sewer, bill customers appropriately, adhere to regulations, perform timely maintenance, and employ sufficient staff to cover operational demands.

In fact, public water and sewer authorities are actively expanding into centralized management of community systems in rural counties.  In the late 1990s, South Alabama Utilites (SAU) near Mobile, Alabama realized it needed to provide wastewater services to new subdivisions or else risk losing customer share.  Since then, SAU has installed Orenco effluent sewer collection systems serving 38 subdivisions.

Another example is the city of Bethel Heights, Arkansas, which chose to install a decentralized sewer system and thus avoided the large up-front loan that would have been required if they had gone with typical gravity sewer.  Both SAU and the city of Bethel Heights are experiencing tremendous results employing decentralized sewer technology at a much lower cost than gravity sewer.

Our Technologies

Effluent Sewer

From on-lot interceptor tanks, only filtered liquid is discharged through small-diameter, shallow collection lines to common downstream treatment, whether that is a neighborhood system or a municipal plant miles away.


Textile sheets in AdvanTex filter pods produce clear, high quality effluent.  Modular construction allows for phased installation of total treatment capacity.


Orenco designs and manufactures control and monitoring panels for customers all over the world.  Our panels are used in water, wastewater, and industrial process applications.