Heavy plant installing large water pipe

How Soleno’s sustainable solutions are transforming water management

Soleno is a family-owned, French Canadian circular economy business, which has been owned by the Poirier family since 1989. A developer of sustainable solutions, Soleno is a leader in sustainable water management for the infrastructure, residential, natural resources, and agricultural development sectors. 

The company owns two recycling facilities and is one of the largest conditioners of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) in Eastern Canada. Over the years, Soleno has developed cutting-edge expertise in sustainable solutions, manufacturing and distributing a wide range of products for the collecting, conveying, treating, and storing of water. The majority of Soleno’s products are made of recycled HDPE, a light and resistant material that can last for over 100 years. Today, Soleno employs over 500 workers in 13 industrial sites in Eastern Canada and in the United States. Soleno offices

“We manufacture post consumer and post industrial plastic containers recycled content into HDPE pipes, mainly for use in three applications: agriculture, forestry and what we call ICI, which is infrastructure, commercial and institutional,” begins Mathieu Cornellier, Saratoga Plant General Manager. 

“We expanded more than 25 years ago into the Atlantic provinces and more recently, about five or six years ago, into Ontario with a few acquisitions. Soleno is in a growth mode and we’re looking to expand both geographically and technologically. Hence our current expansion into the US market.” 

A leader in the water management sector, Soleno continues its development and entered the American market with the establishment of its first plant outside of Canada, in Saratoga Springs, New York. This project will enable the company to introduce its latest product line, KUSTOMFLO, leveraging the innovative German Krah Pipes technology acquired in 2022. The initiative will enhance the ability to reach and serve customers across the East Coast of the United States and in Canada. KUSTOMFLO represents a pivotal step forward, facilitating the production of custom-manufactured large-diameter pipes, up to 136 inches in diameter, using HDPE technology. These pipes are meticulously crafted for water management infrastructures, heralding a new era of possibilities for Soleno. Traditionally, large diameter pipes are made of concrete but with aging infrastructure, now is the time to introduce this new sustainable technology. 

“We offer complete and efficient solutions for sustainable water management and remain the only entirely Canadian based company active in the manufacturing of custom HDPE pipes and structures,” Mathieu continues. 

“Soleno was ahead of its time as far as recycling is concerned. The company partnered with a few manufacturers to develop capabilities to recycle 100 percent of HDPE irrespective of contamination and pursued investment in research and development to recycle other types of plastic materials. Today, Soleno integrates more than 75 to 95 percent of recycled HDPE in its products. 

“Our goal is to vertically integrate and supply our own needs, but we also have the capabilities to supply others with our formulations of recycled content. In effect, we almost have missionary work to do; to change the mindset of engineers, designers, and municipalities and showcase more sustainable solutions.” 

The significant expansion into the US will considerably broaden the company’s product and service offering, marking a crucial step for Soleno, which is now moving beyond stormwater management to adopt a global approach to sustainable water management. 

With financial support from the Saratoga County Industrial Development Agency and the Saratoga Economic Development Corporation, the Saratoga plant will be built on a 22-acre site and will cover over 45,000 square feet, including office space. An extra 25,000 square feet could be appended in a subsequent phase if deemed necessary. Construction on the plant has started with a scheduled inauguration set for 2024, at the end of the third quarter. 

“Our new plant in the United States is a major project for Soleno and represents a decisive turning point in the pursuit of continued growth in North America. We’re delighted to be calling the beautiful community of Saratoga, New York our new home,” he elaborates. 

Soleno is bound to have as positive an impact on the local Saratoga community as it has had and continues to have in Quebec. From fundraising to organizing sporting initiatives, the organization is committed to investing in the local community. The company produced 960 kilometers of pink agricultural drains: a creative and unique awareness campaign for the benefit of the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation. “It is also actively involved in fundraising for foundations and civic organizations and we plan to be equally active in Saratoga in terms of community commitment,” Mathieu shares. “As a company, Soleno is very much about doing what’s right; whether that’s for us, for customers or for the community. The organization very much aligns with my values and so much good goes on quietly behind the scenes.” 

Looking to the future, Mathieu discusses his vision for Soleno as it continues to grow in the US and in existing operations in Canada. “The growth potential in the United States with this technology is tremendous. The demand for large diameter pipes is predicted to be billions of dollars’ worth, so the potential is not just great for Soleno but also for infrastructure in general. HDPE pipes boast greater longevity, while being lighter in weight than their concrete counterparts, as well as having a much smaller impact on the environment, so the potential therein is exponential. 

“Pipes don’t travel well, so it’s important to be close to potential markets as demand for our capabilities increases, so we do anticipate geographical growth with this technology,” he concludes. “This is a terrific solution to post-consumer, single-use plastic waste, as in effect, these pipes will be purposeful forever.”