Sustainability Advantages

Orenco's Core Purpose is "to make the world a better place by enhancing its water resources."

Audubon Center at Debs Park
Los Angeles, California
LEED Platinum Rating
Solar-powered, off-the-grid
AdvanTex® Treatment System

You bet it matters...

When it's your own backyard stream or your family's drinking water at stake, environmental responsibility comes into sharper focus.  We know the feeling.  In the 1970's, the original effluent sewer project that spawned the creation of Orenco Systems involved preserving the water quality of a pristine salmon and steelhead river in Oregon; as avid fishermen of that river, our founders were determined to find a responsible solution.

When you consider that your water quality is the purpose of any wastewater system, you shouldn't expect anything less.  Orenco has taken on the challenge of providing safe, reliable, and sustainable solutions — not only environmentally friendly, but affordable and easily managed.  So as the system ages, it won't require significant and expensive replacement costs.  We can help you manage your system so that any incremental cost is covered within the rate structure — without the requirement of a future government grant or handout, as is the case with so many of the community systems today. 

Sierra Club and Surfrider Foundation Endorse STEP Effluent Sewer

"Based on our review of the Los Osos Wastewater Project reports and our own research, a STEP/STEG collection system affords significantly greater protections to the groundwater, sensitive ecosystems, and culturally significant sites in the area than either a conventional gravity collection system or a low pressure-conventional gravity combined system -- while also providing other benefits important to a sustainable project."

Sierra Club and Surfrider Foundation
Cover letter to "Statement of Key Environmental Issues"
September 2008


Triple Bottom Line Advantages of Effluent Sewer

When it comes to environmental advantages, Orenco effluent sewers beat traditional gravity sewers hands down.  The following are just a few areas where we outperform other options:


Energy Efficiency

  • Low horsepower pumps run for just a few minutes a day.
  • Watertight construction nearly eliminates inflow and infiltration, reducing pumping and treatment demands.
  • Passive primary treatment means downstream treatment systems can be down-sized and high-energy processes at the treatment plant eliminated.

Lower Construction Impact

  • Shallow trenches or trenchless installation of effluent sewer pipes means less soil and root disturbance.
  • Smaller, more fuel efficient equipment can be used to complete the installation.
  • Construction time and corresponding traffic handling issues are reduced or eliminated.

Water Reuse

  • Effluent lends itself well to subsurface irrigation or dispersal.
  • Effluent is available to recharge the local aquifer.
  • Subsurface irrigation using effluent can reduce the demand for potable water.

Better Land Use

  • Developers can cluster homes more closely than individual septic systems allow.
  • A higher ratio of open space to development can be maintained.
  • The modular nature of an Orenco effluent sewer allows system capacity to be added only as needed, avoiding oversized and unnecessary infrastructure.

Public Health

  • Abuses remain in onsite interceptor tank, minimizing exposure to the entire system.
  • Effluent sewer does not use manholes and lift stations that can become overflow points during times of heavy surface water runoff.



  • Effluent sewer is affordable, even for small and low-income communities who've considered budget-busting gravity systems.
  • Purchase and installation of the on-lot equipment of an effluent sewer can be phased in as homes are built.  No need to finance an over-sized system.


Triple Bottom Line Advantages of AdvanTex Treatment

Decentralized package treatment plants and their manufacturers are not all alike.  Orenco has always been committed to the long term performance of its treatment systems. Our engineers know that design integrity and product support matter. 


Excellent Treatment

  • AdvanTex consistently achieves effluent quality equal to or better than that of municipal treatment plants.
  • AdvanTex effluent averages 5 mg/L or less cBOD5 and TSS using NSF Standard 40 hydraulic loading rates.
  • Multiple real-world tests show that AdvanTex reduces nitrogen by 60-70%.


Groundwater Safety

  • Ideal for high water tables, watertight AdvanTex systems keep effluent from entering groundwater.
  • Untreated sewage cannot bypass the operating treatment process, even under surge conditions.



  • Energy efficiency:  Recirculation pumps rarely exceed 1 horsepower.  Power usage for treatment is very low, especially compared with blowers in suspended-growth treatment systems.
  • Water conservation:  Onsite treatment/dispersal allows for subsurface irrigation and reuse applications and recharges the local aquifer.


Equipment Longevity

  • Orenco pumps have an expected life of 20-30 years, far longer than most — especially grinder pumps.
  • Our pumps are easily disassembled and feature a repairable liquid end, so full pump replacement is rarely necessary.
  • The textile treatment media doesn't require replacement under normal conditions.


Installation Impacts

  • Modular design of AdvanTex pods allows the designer to right-size treatment capacity.
  • Compact, low-profile filter pods reduce site disturbance and are visually benign.
  • Limits environmental site impact by avoiding oversized, unnecessary infrastructure.



  • Treatment capacity can be constructed in phases as needed. No need to oversize for future growth that might not happen when expected.
  • Operations and Maintenance (O&M) costs are minimal. Most treatment plants have just a part-time operator.

Greenbuild Expo resources


Environmental Impact Reports

If you are an engineer preparing an Environmental Impact Report (EIR), contact us to request a more comprehensive list of environmental advantages and our technical references/bibliography.


LEED resources


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American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

The ARRA specifically designates decentralized wastewater technology as eligible for green technology earmarks.  Orenco is ready to meet the Buy American requirements of the 2009 Federal Stimulus Package.