Designer/Engineer Newsletter for Septic Systems and Wastewater Treatment

Designer/Engineer Updates

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




Updated Effluent Sewer Design Manual Now Available

Orenco has recently updated a helpful resource for wastewater professionals: our Effluent Sewer Design Manual. “We’ve expanded the Design Manual while making it easier for designers and engineers to use,” says Grant Denn, Senior Manager for Engineered Projects at Orenco. “This revised version includes some significant improvements.”

The previous revision of the “Effluent Sewer Design Manual” (NDA-EFS-1) was released in 2006. The new version reflects the experience Orenco staff members have gained during the past nine years.

All of the information has been reorganized to accurately reflect the design process of an effluent sewer system. We’ve added a planning section that compares and contrasts currently available effluent sewer technologies. We’ve also made significant updates to existing sections, to provide a better understanding of design and planning issues as well as offer explanations of various design considerations. “It’s a much more in-depth view of the design and planning process,” Denn observes.

For a copy of the updated Design Manual, click here. If you have questions about the “Effluent Sewer Design Manual” or Orenco’s products and services, contact your Orenco Sales Rep.


Nitrogen Reduction: Design Considerations

As you’re probably well aware, wastewater regulations governing nitrogen and phosphorus discharges are becoming increasingly strict. These nutrient removal requirements demand more complex designs that often include biological nitrification and denitrification processes, as well as chemical or biological phosphorus removal systems.

Nitrogen fluctuation in effluent is the result of a variety of factors. The most common of these include temperature, pH/alkalinity, dissolved oxygen concentration, and whether or not a large amount of chemicals or cleaning compounds – toxic to microbial life – have been disposed of in the waste stream. When taking on a project with strict permit limits for nitrogen, it’s critical to make system adjustments or design additions to create an ideal environment for nitrogen-removing microorganisms.

Nutrient removal systems require more constant and frequent maintenance and oversight than standard wastewater systems, plus advanced knowledge about nitrogen removal mechanisms. To learn more about these important design considerations and solutions, read the “­­­­­­­­­­Nitrification and Denitrification” article in the April 2015 issue of Orenco’s Operator News.


Webinars Make Training Easy

Orenco's Training Department began offering webinars in April of 2014 as a convenient way for people across the U.S. (and around the world) to learn more about important wastewater topics. Nearly 900 attendees completed our webinar training courses last year and almost 1700 people have already participated in 2015. These webinars are an easy way to keep up-to-date on information you need to be successful in our industry.

In addition to our standard classes, Orenco’s Summer Webinar Series includes an “Effluent Sewer Design Manual” course. This new webinar will familiarize participants with our easy-to-use Effluent Sewer Design Manual, which is an excellent resource for wastewater engineers, designers, and regulators.

To see a full listing of course offerings and register for an upcoming webinar, visit


New Fiberglass Industrial and Utility Products

Orenco now manufactures a variety of fiberglass products for a range of industrial/utility applications. The company’s newest division, Orenco Composites, has also launched a website to introduce its industrial-scale processes and products:

“For more than 30 years, Orenco Systems has been making quality fiberglass parts for customers in the water and wastewater industries,” says Darren Simmie, Senior Project Manager. “Now, Orenco Composites is taking that expertise to more customers in other industries, such as utilities, telecommunications, oil and gas, mining, and transportation. Our new website is a great way to help these customers understand the company’s design and manufacturing capabilities.”

Orenco Composites’ engineers and production staff are recognized leaders in fiberglass manufacturing, and that shows in the quality of the company’s products. “We use advanced, state-of-the-art fiberglass processes that are more commonly associated with the aerospace industry, such as resin transfer molding, vacuum bagging, and helical winding,” says Eric Ball, VP of Product Development. “These processes produce consistent, high-quality parts.” The new website highlights some of these innovative products – including ultra-strong industrial shelters, unique filament-wound basins and wet wells, and custom tanks and structures – and provides an overview of the high-tech processes that are used to create them.

To learn more, visit Orenco Composites’ website
or call toll-free (844) 795-9568.


Update to AX Design Binder

Orenco just published an update to its “AdvanTex Design/Engineering Binder” for commercial wastewater treatment systems. The binder includes technical material on our larger AX-Max and AX-Mobile treatment units, which come in a range of sizes and can be installed underground or to-grade. Full-sized, 42-ft AX-Max treatment pods can handle up to 15,000 gpd (56.8 m3/d) design flow when treating primary-strength effluent. Full-sized AX-Mobile treatment pods can serve up to 250 persons.

Hundreds of AdvanTex AX-Max and AX-Mobile units are cost-effectively treating wastewater across North America and around the world, from New Zealand to Africa to Iraq. To request a copy of the design binder, click here.




Large-Scale WWT for Temporary Camps

Mining camps. Military camps. Disaster relief centers. All need turn-key wastewater treatment plants that can be quickly shipped, commissioned, decommissioned, and shipped elsewhere. Orenco’s AX-Mobile Treatment Systems have been doing that for years, in some of the world’s most inhospitable places. Recently, one of our AX-Mobile Treatment Systems near Erbil, Iraq, was quickly decommissioned and moved as ISIS threatened to take control of the region. A profile of the project appeared in the Oct/Nov issue of Industrial Water & Wastes Digest. The Orenco “Project Profile” on which it was based is available here.


AdvanTex Tops Performance Chart … Again!

The November 2014 issue of New Zealand’s Water NZ magazine includes results from tests of 35 onsite systems manufactured by 20 different companies. Between 2007 and 2013, units were tested for BOD, TSS, Total Nitrogen, Ammonia Nitrogen, Total Phosphorus, Fecal Coliforms, and energy usage.

The article is titled “Performance Ranking of On-Site Domestic Wastewater Treatment Plants.” According to author Ian Gunn, AdvanTex is one of only two "top performing treatment units at a Five Star Plus rating." He goes on to say that AdvanTex had the highest performance ranking overall due to its lower energy use.

The results of New Zealand’s testing re-confirm the high performance of AdvanTex in more than a dozen testing programs, both in test centers and in the field. “AdvanTex Performance Summary #1” documents testing of AX systems for the reduction of BOD5, TSS, and Fecal Coliform. “AdvanTex Performance Summary #2” documents testing of AX systems for nutrient reduction and total phosphorus.

A new flyer titled “Proven … Again & Again” also summarizes these performance rankings, with a focus on nitrogen-reduction. If you would like to order copies, call Orenco at 800-348-9843, +1-541-459-4449.


Super-Strong Lids for HDPE & PVC Risers

After two years of extensive research and development, Orenco has launched its new damage-resistant, DuraFiberTM solid fiberglass lid in 24- and 30-inch diameters (600- and 750-mm). The DuraFiber Lid is made of resin-infused fiberglass for extreme durability and breaking strengths in excess of 20,000 pounds (9,070 kg). It fits both HDPE and PVC riser pipe and weighs less than our older style lids.

These new lids are a direct replacement for Orenco's older FL-series lids. “DuraFiber Lids represent the most significant improvement in fiberglass access lids since 1988,” says Eric Ball, Orenco’s VP of Product Development. “They're the strongest and toughest non-traffic-rated lids we’ve ever tested.”

DuraFiber Lids are ideal for multiple water and wastewater applications, including septic tanks, meters, valve boxes, standpipes, and underground utilities. For more information, check out this Flyer and this Technical Data Sheet.


AdvanTex Design Tool

We’ve added a one-page equations “cheat sheet” to the front of our newly revised “Design Criteria for Commercial AdvanTex Treatment Systems.” It’s titled “Equations and Parameters Frequently Used in This Design Criteria.” So now you can spend less time looking for equations and more time solving them! To order the Commercial AX Design Criteria, call your local Commercial AdvanTex Dealer or call Orenco at 800-348-9843, +1-541-459-4449. Click here to view a full-sized "cheat sheet."


WWT for “Variable Flows”

Wastewater projects for schools, churches, resorts, hotels, and campgrounds face unique design challenges. All these applications require highly effective wastewater treatment despite widely varying flows, and they need to be able to start up quickly during peak usage periods.

“AdvanTex® uses a multi-pass, packed-bed filter treatment technology that is well suited to variable flows,” says Bob Smith, Orenco engineer. “It’s especially beneficial when used with equalization tankage … which also lets you reduce costs by downsizing the treatment facility.”

Smith has been helping Orenco develop a new series of “Case Study Roundups” for these types of projects, including a brand new roundup for Schools & Churches. See also our Resorts Roundup, as well as individual Case Studies on Glendhu Bay Holiday Park and Pointes West Recreational Area.






Suffolk County, Long Island, is using AdvanTex in its new "Reclaim Our Water" initiative.

AdvanTex® Selected for Nitrogen-Reduction Demo

Nitrogen-reduction is a new priority in Suffolk County, New York, a region where drinking water comes from the ground. Excessive nitrogen-loading from septic systems and cesspools has been targeted for elimination under the county’s “Reclaim Our Water” initiative. Orenco is one of just four manufacturers selected to participate in the county’s “Septic Demonstration Program,” in which 19 lucky homeowners will receive a free advanced wastewater treatment system, including installation and a 5-year service contract. In exchange, they’ll allow their systems to be studied over the next two years by wastewater designers, installers, and operators.

The nitrogen-reducing capability of AdvanTex has already proven itself through multiple in-field regulatory testing programs including Maryland's, where the state field-tested a number of systems from various manufacturers and found that Orenco’s AX-20 and AX-RT posted the greatest “Mean % Reduction TN,” as well as the lowest “Price Per Pound of Nitrogen Reduced.” To view these test results, select the “CLICK HERE” link at For more info, contact Nicholas Noble, Government Relations Manager, 800-348-9843, x484.



The Boy Scouts' National Jamboree site uses  hundreds of AdvanTex systems to recycle the camp’s greywater.

Boy Scouts Use AX-Greywater System at National Jamboree Site

When the Boy Scouts developed its beautiful National Scout Jamboree site in West Virginia, the organization made sustainability and conservation a priority. Orenco’s water-conserving AdvanTex AX-Greywater system was selected to treat shower water from the cabins so that it could be reused for toilet-flushing. You can read about this 200,000 gpd re-use system here, in Water Efficiency magazine’s July/August 2014 issue.


Fiberglass Shelters Protect People, Equipment


Orenco DuraFiber Shelters provide a warm safe environment to house pumps and controls.

Alexander, North Dakota, located less than 100 miles south of the Canadian border, isn’t known for balmy temperatures. Town leaders wanted to ensure that operators of its new municipal WWT plant could work in a warm and safe environment during the winter. So their engineer specified an Orenco DuraFiber Shelter to house all the system’s electrical controls (also manufactured by Orenco).

The DuraFiber Shelter installed at Alexander is 15' L x 8' W x 8' H, and it was pre-wired with a ventilation system, heater, interior/exterior lights, and an external alarm beacon. Shelter specifiers can choose from a variety of options, including custom sizes, windows, walls, insulation, and more.

“For two years now, Orenco's fiberglass Shelter has been a huge hit at WEFTEC,” says Darren Simmie, Product Manager. “For the wastewater market, the Shelter is an add-on to Orenco's larger AdvanTex AX-Max Treatment Systems. Alexander, for example, installed a 22-unit AX-Max system.”

For more info, contact Darren Simmie, Senior Product Manager, (800) 231-2507, or


"No Excuses" Webinars


Orenco offers a variety of convenient webinars.

No time to travel to trainings? More than 500 people have participated in Orenco’s newly introduced webinars since they were first launched last spring. “It’s no wonder they’ve become so popular,” said Angela Bounds, Training Manager. “Webinars are convenient, focused, and informative.”

Go to to find upcoming webinars on 1) Effluent Sewers, 2) AdvanTex Design Criteria, and 3) O&M for Effluent Sewers and AdvanTex. And watch that site! More webinars are on tap for 2015.


Resorts Install AdvanTex, Worldwide

Kauri Cliffs in New Zealand. Wolgan Valley Resort in Australia. St. Constantin Resort and Hotel in Greece. These are just a few of the more than 125 hotel and resort properties worldwide that have installed Orenco’s equipment to meet their wastewater needs.

Hotel and resort properties require wastewater systems that can start up quickly and handle highly variable flows. Each system must also operate quietly, produce no noticeable odor, and blend into the landscaping. AdvanTex systems do just that. Unlike conventional activated sludge systems that struggle with these requirements, AdvanTex Treatment Systems use a multi-pass, packed-bed filter treatment technology that offers process stability and consistent effluent quality, even under highly variable flows. And they do it quietly and without odors.

Download our new "Resorts" case study here or read more on our website:



Kauri Cliffs, an award-winning resort in New Zealand, replaced its failing activated sludge plant with an AdvanTex WWTS.


Daniels Summit Lodge in Utah installed an AdvanTex WWTS to accommodate a restaurant expansion.






Bid Data Available for Sewer Proposals

Orenco has just released a new fact sheet for wastewater engineers: “Small Community Collection Systems: Construction Costs.” This fact sheet documents constructed costs from more than 40 publicly funded and bid collection systems serving small communities, including gravity, grinder, and effluent sewers.

These public bids show that, on average, Orenco effluent sewer systems cost 41% less than gravity sewer. And this data is conservative. 2010 data from the Water Environment Research Foundation shows effluent sewer costs that are 65% less than gravity sewer, or better. WERF’s cost tables, as well as answers to questions that are frequently asked of our engineers, can be found in our newly updated Effluent Sewers FAQ.


Collection system costs include on-lot equipment and right-of-way components.


New Reference Binder for Effluent Sewers and AdvanTex Treatment Systems

Both of the documents described above — and dozens more — are available in a new reference binder for design engineers: “Overview: Decentralized Wastewater Systems for Municipalities & Subdivisions.” To order your copy, call Orenco at 800-348-9843 and ask to speak to someone in our “Community Systems” group.


AdvanTex a Chart-Topper in Nitrogen-Sensitive State

Maryland takes nitrogen-reduction seriously. Ten years ago, the state instituted a “flush tax” to create a Bay Restoration Fund (BRF) for upgrading the state’s wastewater infrastructure, including septic systems. Replacement systems had to be field-verified by the state, and two of the seven field-verified systems are Orenco’s: the AdvanTex AX20 and AX20RT.

Citizens needing a replacement system can go to Maryland’s website to see which ones have been field-verified and how they rank in a number of key measures. While AdvanTex costs more than the other approved systems, it tops the chart in percent of nitrogen reduced, energy efficiency, and O&M costs. Consequently, it also tops the chart by posting the lowest “Price Per Pound of Nitrogen Reduced.”

To get the BRF Ranking Document, select the “CLICK HERE” link at the following url:

For more info, contact Nicholas Noble, Government Relations Manager, 800-348-9843, x484.


Case Study and Article Spotlight AX Treatment

Glendhu Bay Holiday Park in New Zealand needed a wastewater system that could meet tertiary treatment standards due to its proximity to Lake Wanaka — a local source of drinking water. Orenco Distributor Innoflow Technologies designed a high-performing AdvanTex System with a quarter million gallons of tankage and treatment, for little more than $1 million (U.S.). Read about it in this new case study.

For a short and simple explanation of why attached-growth packed bed filters like AdvanTex do such a good job of treating wastewater, read an interview with Orenco’s Grant Denn in the March 5 issue of


Reduce Service Calls, Extend Drainfield Life

No one would recommend a cheap filter to protect a drainfield costing several thousand dollars, and yet cheap filters get installed all too often, according to Blake Johnston, Orenco Area Sales Manager stationed in Connecticut.

“I’ve seen cases where a cheap filter repeatedly clogs, requires multiple service calls, and may even get thrown out,” says Johnston. “That doesn’t have to happen. When an appropriately-sized Biotube Effluent Filter is installed, a homeowner will never have to pay for a service call just to have the filter cleaned. The filter can simply be cleaned at the same time the tank requires pumping."

Orenco’s standard 4-inch residential Biotube Effluent Filter has an average maintenance interval in excess of 10 years. Backed by long-term performance data from thousands of installations, Biotube filters reduce TSS by roughly two-thirds. Find our fact sheet here.


Upcoming Trainings

Orenco provides training to thousands of wastewater designers, engineers, and operators every year. In September, we’re offering “Wastewater Boot Camp” and in October we’re offering “Commercial Week.” Both are scheduled at Orenco’s HQ in Sutherlin, Oregon, and CEUs are available:

  • Wastewater Treatment — System Biology and Design: Sept. 15-16, 2014
  • Control Panels — Selecting, Installing, Troubleshooting: Sept. 17, 2014
  • Effluent Pumps — Selecting, Installing, Maintaining: Sept. 18, 2014


  • Effluent Sewer Design — Oct. 20-21, 2014
  • AdvanTex Treatment System Design — Oct. 23-24, 2014

For more information or to register, go to


More Videos on YouTube

Our YouTube site now includes videos of Orenco’s wastewater products shot by a number of people working in the decentralized field. If you haven’t visited for a while, check it out here.

If you have a video to share using Orenco’s technologies or processes, contact




AdvanTex Design Criteria for commercial treatment systems.


Comprehensive Design Tool for AdvanTex® Commercial WWT Systems

Orenco has just released an updated AdvanTex Design Criteria for Commercial Treatment Systems. This comprehensive Criteria can be used to design wastewater treatment systems using any of the company’s recirculating AdvanTex textile filter models across a range of seven different application types, from domestic to high-strength waste.

According to Grant Denn, Senior Manager, Engineered Projects, “This version of the Design Criteria includes new information on pre-anoxic treatment, which is something we’ve found to be very beneficial in all applications. It also includes two-stage configurations for advanced removal of Total Nitrogen and sizing criteria for ammonia-sensitive sites.”

We are offering two webinars to help you get better acquainted with this Design Criteria update.  

  • Wednesday, May 7, 2014, 9-11 a.m., Pacific Daylight Time: Click here to register.
  • Wednesday, May 21, 2014, 9-11 a.m., Pacific Daylight Time: Click here to register.

Space is limited. For more information, contact Angela Bounds at (541) 459-4449 ext. 328 or



Click on the image to see a larger sample of the AX100 lid pattern.


Improved AdvanTex Lids: Better-Insulated and Lighter

All lids on AX20, AX-RT, and AX-100 textile filter pods are now molded with a one-inch thick, high-density structural foam core that provides integral insulation and creates a stronger, longer-lasting product. These new lids are also lighter: 17 lbs lighter for AX20s and AX-RTs and 35 lbs lighter for AX-100s … so they’ve been a big hit with operators.

Finally, all lids now include the AdvanTex logo in the corner, which can be important when properties change hands but system info doesn’t! Now, new owners can just Google “AdvanTex” and call for info. And speaking of Googling …


NEW! Distributor locator with Google mapping.



New Distributor Locator with Google Mapping

Find one of Orenco’s 300 distributor locations with our website’s much- improved Distributor Locator with Google mapping.

You can find it here or you can click on the “Distributor Locator” link that is in the upper right corner of this web page. Then enter your postal code and you’ll get a Google map to your nearest distributor outlets. Contact info, product lines, and distance from your current location are also provided. For locations outside the U.S., there’s an “International Distributor Locator” sub-link. Check it out.


Two Towns Add Sewers and Subtract Odors


Fulton, Alabama, and Piopio, New Zealand, are a world apart, but both these small communities were dealing with failing septic systems, foul odors, and untreated sewage flowing into local creeks. Both communities resolved their wastewater problems by researching — and then selecting — high-performing, affordable Effluent Sewers and AdvanTex Treatment Systems, manufactured by Orenco. 

To find out more, here are new case studies for both Fulton, Alabama and Piopio, New Zealand. If you’d like to talk to an Orenco expert in those parts of the world, in Alabama, contact Ben White, Orenco’s Community Systems Sales Engineer, 251-580-1927; and in New Zealand, contact Brent Hawthorn, Technical Manager, Innoflow Technologies, +64 9 426 1027.


Upcoming Wastewater Workshops


Orenco's Cory Lyon discusses residential WWTS.

In addition to our two design webinars (see first article) in May, Orenco is once again offering its popular four-day “Wastewater Boot Camp” training from May 12 - 15, at its Sutherlin, Oregon, campus. This training is ideal for new staff or as a refresher for old hands. Course outlines are as follows:

Days 1 and  2 (May 12-13) — Wastewater Boot Camp, $200 (CEUs available)

An intensive 2-day wastewater workshop that lays the groundwork for understanding what is required for effective wastewater treatment — regardless of technology. Begins with basics and quickly advances from there. Includes how-to’s for designing successful systems and what makes the AdvanTex Treatment System work so well.

Day 3 (May 14) — Control Panels, $100 (CEUs available)

An in-depth course that covers everything from selecting and installing control panels to troubleshooting the panel once it’s up and running. Includes hands-on practice and lots of time for questions.

Day 4 (May 15) — Pumps, $100 (CEUs available)

A crash course in the operation and maintenance of centrifugal effluent pumps, both single- and multi-stage. Includes the history of pumps, the mechanics of how they work, and how to evaluate and select the proper pump for your application. Also includes do’s and don’ts for increasing the life of a pump, plus tips for troubleshooting and maintenance.

You can register for the full four days or just pick and choose your courses. To sign up, go to All meals are provided. You can also request customized trainings in your region. For more information about customized trainings, contact Angela Bounds:




2013 Update

2012 Update

2011 Update

2010 Update

2009 Update

2008 Update


7/30/15 Update

  • Updated Effluent Sewer Design Manual Now Available
  • Nitrogen Reduction: Design Considerations
  • Webinars Make Training Easy
  • New Fiberglass Industrial and Utility Products
  • Update to AX Design Binder


3/11/15 Update

  • Large-Scale WWT for Temporary Camps
  • AdvanTex Tops Performance Chart … Again!
  • Super-Strong Lids for HDPE & PVC Risers
  • AdvanTex Design Tool
  • WWT for “Variable Flows”


11/13/14 Update

  • AdvanTex Selected for Nitrogen-Reduction Demo
  • Boy Scouts Use AX-Greywater System at National Jamboree Site
  • Fiberglass Shelters Protect People, Equipment
  • “No Excuses” Webinar
  • Resorts Install AdvanTex, Worldwide


8/21/14 Update

  • Bid Data Available for Sewer Proposals
  • New Reference Binder for Effluent Sewers and AdvanTex Treatment Systems
  • AdvanTex a Chart-Topper in Nitrogen-Sensitive State
  • Case Study and Article Spotlight AX Treatment
  • Reduce Service Calls, Extend Drainfield Life
  • Upcoming Trainings
  • More Videos on YouTube


4/24/14 Update

  • Comprehensive Design Tool for AdvanTex
  • Improved AdvanTex Lids: Better-Insulated and Lighter
  • New Distributor Locator with Google Mapping
  • Two Towns Add Sewers and Subtract Odors
  • Upcoming Wastewater Workshops