Ranger Station Eliminates Need for NPDES Permit
The aging gravity sewer lines for the Steamboat Ranger Station, located on Oregon's wild and scenic North Umpqua River, were being infiltrated by groundwater, increasing daily flows to more than three times peak design flow. Stopgap repairs to the sewer line were going to cost nearly $80,000. In addition, the wastewater treatment plant serving the system was discharging directly into the river under an NPDES permit, so the service and sampling required under this permit was costing $25,000 per year. The agencies responsible for the Ranger Station — the US Forest Service and the Department of Transportation — needed to repair the system and reduce their annual maintenance expenses.
The agencies chose to decommission the aging infrastructure and install a watertight Orenco Liquid-Only (Effluent) Sewer, followed by Orenco's AdvanTex® recirculating media filter, discharging to a drainfield. With onsite discharge, the NPDES permit became unnecessary. The State issued an onsite permit, and the maintenance contract dropped from $25,000/yr to $2,000/ yr. Sampling requirements were also reduced, along with the high costs of maintaining the older treatment plant. As a result, payback on the brand new collection and treatment system was just 2.5 years, effluent quality was hugely improved, and no effluent at all is discharged into a wild and scenic river.