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1507 Drexel Street North
Wilson, NC, 27893
United States

(888) 552-AQWA


AQWA combines top-quality products, extensive knowledge, and industry experience to provide superior wastewater management solutions to clients big and small. From large multi-system commercial projects to single family homes and even public works, we can make it happen, and we've got the track record to prove it.


Berkeley County South Carolina Sewer Connection

Michael Clayton

We are excited to share that AQWASTEP is now approved for use in Berkeley County, SC. We met with the director of the Berkeley County Sewer Department in early August 2019 and showed him our AQWASTEP system. His response to it was very favorable, and he agreed that it was a great alternative to on-lot grinder basins.

AQWASTEP allows property owners to connect to wastewater gravity or pressure mains without extending the main service line to their property.

This allows existing homeowners with failed septic systems or new development in outlying areas to affordably and efficiently connect to the local sewer on a lot by lot basis.

Berkeley County will approve our AQWASTEP tanks as an on-lot pump station for properties desiring to connect to sewer without direct access at the lot line.

If you want to learn more about AQWASTEP and would like to receive pdf and dwg cut sheets of the tank you would use, email Michael at or call 252-243-7693.


Mass drain fields aka community wastewater systems

Michael Clayton

Mass drain fields also known as community drain fields are increasingly common on new developments. These community systems are preferred by many public health departments including the Virginia Public Health department due to the lower environmental impact they present and easier regulatory oversight. Learn more in this blog post.

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Which Alternative Septic System is Best?

Michael Clayton

How do you make a decision about which alternative septic solution may be the best for you and your family?

Some of the metrics to assess when making a decision include:
Treatment Efficacy
Quality of Construction
Operations and Maintenance Costs
Ease of Maintenance

We work with Advantex Treatment Systems because we believe they are best in class on all of those metrics.

Other treatment systems on the market don’t offer a treatment process that is nearly as robust and reliable as Advantex treatment systems nor are the materials used in their construction of comparable quality.

Aerobic treatment units (ATUs) have to be carefully managed in order to ensure that the treatment process does not push suspended solids into the drainfield. Normal Septic Tank Effluent will typically be less than 30mg/l total suspended solids (TSS). ATUs generate suspended solids as a part of their treatment process. These solids accumulate fairly rapidly and have to be pumped out every 1 to 3 years (generally) to avoid solids from entering the drain field. ATUs that are not carefully operated may effectively reduce the nutrient load found in the water but still produce effluent that has a TSS level north of 300mg/l TSS.

High TSS going to your drainfield will be the number one thing that causes it to fail prematurely by clogging the pore space in between the soil particles.

Advantex Systems reliably produces less than 10mg/l BOD, <10mg/l TSS, <20mg/l TN.

Advantex features stainless steel and fiberglass components designed to last the life of your home. These tanks and lids will withstand up to a 2,200 lb wheel load. The textile in Advantex units should never need to be replaced.

Pumps come with a 5 year warranty, all other components have at least a 3 year warranty.

Advantex are easy to maintain and do not require frequent pump outs of the tanks. The septic tank will need to be pumped on average every 5 to 10 years depending on use.

Have questions?

Reach out to Michael at or call 252-243-7693.

AXRT Brochure

AX20 Brochure

Above Ground Fiberglass Septic Tanks and Treatment Plants

Michael Clayton

Are you looking for an above ground septic tank option? We use Orenco T-MAX units on many of our commercial jobs when burying a concrete or fiberglass primary tank will be difficult or costly due to high water table, shallow bedrock, or other site conditions.

The T-MAX tank can come in a variety of configurations that allow for flexibility and customization based on your application. You can gravity or pump out of these T-MAX units to the next treatment stage. Typically we are going into an Advantex AX-MAX treatment unit but really they could go anywhere.

We currently have a project installation in process at a campground in the mountains of Virginia. Due to the difficult site conditions, shallow bedrock, unstable soils, and difficult access for an excavator, the project engineer with AQWA guidance elected to use a T-MAX unit for the flow equalization tank followed by an AX-MAX Mobile set at grade.

Using the T-MAX and AX-MAX Mobile allowed for easy and quick installation of the system with minimal digging required. Check out the Technical submittals for the T-MAX and Mobile units.

Interested in learning more or have a project in mind? Reach out to us to learn more and get started.,, 252-243-7693.

60,000 gpd treatment system featuring T-MAX primary tanks and AX-Mobile treatment units.

60,000 gpd treatment system featuring T-MAX primary tanks and AX-Mobile treatment units.

NPDES Permit - How to reduce O&M costs of your package plant

Michael Clayton

If you are considering replacing an activated sludge plant in South Carolina, North Carolina or Virginia now is a great time to ask yourself, “Is there a better way to do this?”

Activated sludge plants treating small flows <100,000 gpd are tricky to operate. They require lots of maintenance, use lots of energy, and are prone to treatment process upsets due to variable flows and flow strengths.

NPDES permits almost always require a minimum of 5 visits per week (daily) by the operator in responsible charge. This number of visits is required because you actually have to go to an activated sludge plant that often to make sure it is running properly.

There is another option out there that approaches small flow wastewater treatment differently using a packed bed media filter instead of activated sludge process.

This packed bed media filter process is a much more robust treatment process that is less prone to upset utilizing a non-submerged media filter on which the nutrient digesting bacteria live and thrive. In low-flow and low-food times, the bacteria consume what nutrients are left in the recirculating wastewater before entering endogenous respiration aka cannibalizing themselves and each other to survive until flow and food returns. (You can read more about the Performance of Packed Bed Media Filters here.)

The Advantex technology, especially the AX MAX is a technological break through bring the benefits of packed bed media filters like sand filters to a larger scale economically. Advantex treatment systems have been used to replace existing activated sludge package plants resulting in:

  • 80% reduction in site visits

  • 90% reduction in sludge pumping

  • No more energy hogging blowers

  • More consistent treatment and effluent quality

  • Expanded flow capacity

  • Fully Telemetry enabled

  • Safer work environment

Do you have an activated sludge package plant in North Carolina, South Carolina, or Virginia?

If you do, reach out to AQWA to find out how an Advantex system can replace your existing package plant resulting in huge recurring annual savings on operations and maintenance.

252-243-7693 Ask for Michael or Steve


Don't Lose Money, Unlock Highest and Best Use with AQWA

Michael Clayton

When appraising a property, the question of "What is the highest and best use of a property?"  is asked by appraisers or potential buyers in order to arrive at an accurate estimation of market value if the property were to be sold.

This process of determining highest and best use is both an analytical and a creative process requiring the appraiser to not only see the property for what it is, but what it can become while also being:

  • Legally permissible
  • Physically possible
  • Financially feasible
  • Maximally productive

To effectively answer these questions, one has to be well-versed in local law, zoning, permitting, limiting site conditions, property values, market trends and consumer or investor demand.

For properties without access to public sewer, the onsite wastewater or septic design will oftentimes be the single most limiting factors for how a property can be used.

We help you overcome these constraints by thoroughly understanding how onsite wastewater collections, treatment and dispersal can reduce the legal, physical, and financial barriers that stand in the way of maximally productive property. 

Very few people see the most creative and efficient way to treat and disperse wastewater long-term at first glance.  Having been in the business for 15+ years, we have seen dozens of techniques that change the value of a property or development by 6 or even 7 figures with one critical decision concerning wastewater. 

AQWA also operates and maintains over 500 wastewater treatment systems in the Carolinas which gives us a unique perspective of how initial design considerations impact ongoing operation and maintenance cost.

When buying a property, selling a property, or developing a property, knowing what your options for development are is key to meeting your goals AND  not leaving huge amounts of money on the table.  Read more about how we do that for commercial systems, residential systems, and STEP Collections that bring sewer to you.

Call us at (888) 552-AQWA  or   Email to get the conversation started.

AQWA Expands Territory to Virginia

Michael Clayton

AQWA Inc., (Wilson, NC), the AdvanTex® dealer in the Carolinas, is pleased to announce the addition of Virginia into its market territory.

Orenco Systems (Sutherlin, OR), the manufacturer of AdvanTex Wastewater Treatment Systems, has authorized AQWA Inc. to bring its unmatched sales and service team to engineers, developers, commercial facility owners, utilities, and municipalities throughout the Commonwealth.

The AdvanTex line has grown in recent years to include a larger, modular AX-Max™ system, which allows for phased installation for flows from 5,000 GPD up to 100,000 GPD or more. Clean effluent from these units is safely discharged to the environment through drip or spray irrigation, traditional drainfields, or direct NPDES discharge. “The AdvanTex Treatment System is the closest thing to a bullet-proof wastewater treatment system out there. Now, it’s our job to show everyone what it can do,” says Steve Barry, AQWA’s President.

He continues: “With the focus on nutrient limitations in the Chesapeake Bay and Smith Mountain Lake regions, growth pressures in Northern Virginia, as well as environmentally sensitive trout streams in the Blue Ridge, we expect the AX-Max to be very well received in Virginia.”

Since Orenco introduced this product for larger flows, AQWA has made significant inroads in the Carolinas, including groundbreaking systems installed in several new decentralized subdivisions on Lake Norman NC, in a nuclear power plant, and in state parks, RV parks, and several schools.

“Our new mission is to rid the world of traditional aeration ‘package plants’. They are simply the wrong technology for flows less than 100,000 gallons per day,” according to Barry. “If we don’t get rid of those tired old ‘package plants’ and replace them more stable and scalable technologies like the AX-Max, the environment will continue to suffer and owners will continue to pay too much. We’re going to keep doing everything we can to leave cleaner lakes and rivers to our kids and grandkids, and this another step along that path.”

Since 2002, AQWA, a family-owned business, has relentlessly worked to be The Clear Leader™ in wastewater treatment equipment sales and service in the Carolinas. “We’ve been blessed in so many ways. We have a great partner in Orenco, as well as diligent employees with high integrity. Their hard work has earned the respect of regulators, engineers, installers, soil scientists, and property owners alike.” Barry says.


How to get more bedrooms out of your septic permit

Michael Clayton

There are 2 major ways to get more bedrooms approved for your septic permit.

1) Increase your LTAR (long-term acceptance rate). This number describes how many gallons per day per sq ft of drain field space can be applied sustainably to the soil without failing. 

2) Reduce your horizontal setbacks and open up more area on the property for drainfield area. Treating wastewater before applying it to the drainfield area allows property owners to reduce the horizontal setback distance they must maintain between their drainfield an property features like: foundation drains, surface waters, interceptor drains, 

If your property is near a body of water like Lake Norman or on the coast we oftentimes utilize a combination of both 1 and 2 through the use of treatment technology, innovative drainfield products and a thorough understanding of onsite wastewater rules.

For example, on Lake Norman, where soils are normally pretty good, a drainfield product like T&J Panel is used to reduce the required footprint of the drainfield by 50%.  Pairing T&J Panels 50% drainfield reduction with the horizontal setback reductions of Ts-i or ts-ii treatment and homeowners are able to gain additional bedrooms, pool area, or other valuable additions to their property.

At the coast, we use ts-ii treatment and bed systems to squeeze drain fields for an 8 bedroom home in to a little over 400 sq ft.

The 1970 Rules are the rule book in North Carolina that the local environmental health department and soils and engineering professionals use as guidelines for septic system design.

Thankfully the 1970 rules are undergoing a rewrite to make them more readable and easily understood. In the meantime, reach out to AQWA for help tackling your onsite wastewater design challenges!


NC Alternative Drain field Products - Peanuts, PPBPS, Domes, Drip

Michael Clayton

A brief explanation and example of how alternative drain field products and treatment reduce drain field size, setbacks or depth to water table restrictions.

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DHEC denied my lot for septic, what do I do

Michael Clayton

Did DHEC deny your lot for a conventional septic system? AQWA helps you get and alternative engineered septic system permitted, approved, and installed. 

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