Have a Crisis? Orenco Systems®, Inc. to the Rescue

Spotlight Company - Orenco SystemsA year ago last November, St. Lucia was ravaged by a severe hurricane. Hurricane Tomas caused the Caribbean island to look like a war zone and destroyed part of the Jalousie Plantation Resort. That’s when Orenco Systems, Inc. swooped in and saved the day.

When nearly half of the 110-suite resort was destroyed by mudslides, its wastewater treatment facility was destroyed, too. They were in immediate need of a wastewater treatment plant in order to get the 60 suites not destroyed by the hurricane up and running in time for Christmas, the resort’s peak season.
Dana Ripley of Ripley Pacific Company, the engineer for the project, knew exactly who to call. Tristian Bounds, Product Manager for Orenco’s AX-Mobile™, which was installed for the project, says, “Dana has been a longtime friend of Orenco. We’ve worked on many projects together so Dana is very familiar with us and our capabilities.” The resort was looking at three different alternatives and even considered bringing in another package plant that was made of steel that had to be cut up. Bounds says, “What it came down to was nobody could meet the timeframe…except Orenco. It was a pretty obvious choice once we said, ‘Yes, we will get it done for you.’”

Ripley contacted Orenco on November 18, and the company’s employees worked eight 12-hour days designing and building the project’s two 42′ tank and treatment units through the Thanksgiving weekend. The system, which consisted of one primary treatment unit and one secondary treatment unit, was shipped out by December 2 and arrived in St. Lucia by December 18. Bounds and an Orenco technician flew down to St. Lucia and helped assist the locals in the construction of the project. Orenco had the project up and running by December 21, finishing the project in an unprecedented one month time period. “The interesting part about that is that half of the time was spent in shipping the units,” Bounds points out.

Normally, the engineering process alone can take a few months to a few years. Under normal circumstances, once Orenco gets an order, the typical turnaround time for manufacturing an AX-Mobile is two to six weeks. In the case of Jalousie Plantation Resort, Orenco actually had the product built and shipped before the order was formally processed. The engineer’s design and the manufacturing process took the two weeks that is usually taken up by manufacturing.

Working at an unprecedented level of service has been something Orenco has done since the company was founded in 1981. Orenco’s VP of Sales and Marketing, Scott Saulls, says, “We’ve been a company that has focused on the technology and advancements we can bring to the wastewater industry.”

In the beginning, Orenco produced equipment for onsite systems as its primary focus. Orenco Corporate Communications Manager Sandra Huffstutter cites Oregon’s large number of failing septic systems as the reason and the inspiration for many of Orenco’s innovations. The company optimized equipment to improve onsite systems and to bring modern sand filters with controlled time dosing and other improvements to the industry in Oregon in the early 80s. “At the same time,” Huffstutter says, “effluent sewer systems were beginning to be designed, installed, and discussed in the onsite wastewater world. Orenco’s owners did a lot of research and—together with Douglas County—installed one of the first in the country in Oregon.” As the company has evolved over the years, Orenco has catered to residential onsite systems and community scale effluent sewer systems.

With the AX-Mobile, Orenco is focusing on the mining industry and camps, disaster relief and the military. “We’re also working on incorporating a toilet facility into the AX-Mobile so it can go into those camps,” Bounds cites as one innovation coming down the pike. In terms of military applications, Orenco can supply units for small battalions and small forward operating bases of 50-300 people. “The military is really moving forward and trying to operate on a very green level, and water and energy are the top two critical elements that they’re really focusing on,” Bounds says. “Right now, Orenco is waiting to find out if we will be installing a treatment unit for the Department of Defense.” The unit would service the equivalent of 100 people in Missouri, as part of a three-month testing process before being shipped off to Afghanistan.

Saulls adds, “We see growth opportunities not only with these remote deployments—be they mining camps or other situations where they need a remote wastewater system—but we’re focusing more heavily on community systems, especially throughout the Midwest.” Orenco is finding that many communities are without sewer or are on septic tanks with leech fields where, as the communities grow, the systems can’t handle the growth. The existing solutions in these communities are failing and alternative technologies, like Orenco’s effluent sewer systems or decentralized treatment options, need to be looked at. “We’re also trying to tap into the international market that exists,” Saulls says, “We already have a global presence—we’ve shipped to 60 countries around the world—but we really want to strengthen that.” Little by little, bit by bit, Orenco Systems, Inc. is working to improve the world.

For more information visit www.orenco.com or call 800.348.9843.

Story by Megan McClure

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