Infrastructure Improvement Plan Update 

On July 18, the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) reviewed and discussed a recommended $129 million capital improvement plan that prioritizes water and wastewater infrastructure improvements necessary for the Johnson Utilities system over the next three years. Commissioners heard discussion on the need for projects ranging from continuing to fix valves to a full replacement of the Section 11 wastewater plant. After hearing discussion about the recommended plan, ACC Commissioners voted to approve EPCOR to proceed with the recommended projects and plans. 

What happens next? EPCOR will move ahead to implement the plan and keep customers and the Arizona Corporation Commission updated as progress is made. 

Water Supply Updates 

With the weather forecast calling for continued very high temperatures, we’re paying close attention to all elements of the water system to make sure they’re working properly and that we’re prepared to respond immediately in the case of any emergencies. While we expect the available supply to meet peak demand, all water sources must stay operational at full capacity. 

In early July we upgraded the pump at the Morning Sun Farms #2 well to enable it to increase production by 600 gallons per minute (gpm) for Region 2. An important power upgrade for the new San Tan Well #1 is coming up, which will double production capacity to about 1,000 gpm. What does that mean for you? Over million gallons of additional water every day for Johnson Utilities customers. 

Johnson Utilities’ entire water supply comes from groundwater, so our primary focus is on development and operation of wells for current and future needs. We’re in various stages of development for several brand new wells, including one north of the Ricke Water Plant and two in the Promenade area. We’re also finalizing our regional groundwater study, which will help us determine where to drill other new wells for long-term water supply security. 

Improving Water Quality 

At the Main Yard, the ion exchange (IX) system is now fully operational and removing nitrates at the level we planned, resulting in an increase in good quality water being produced at this location. We’ve tied a transmission main line into the Main Yard water system and are now working to increase the size of the pipe that runs under a portion of railroad track – all measures that will improve flow conditions into the Main Yard water system. 

We’re also pursuing strategies to combine water treated by the IX system with untreated blended well water for further water quality improvements. We’re also evaluating options for several wells that currently show nitrates above acceptable limits but which have the potential to add valuable new supplies to the system with adequate treatment. 

What’s in Your Water? 

As required by state and federal agencies, EPCOR finalized the 2018 water quality reports for the Johnson Utilities service area in June. We are pleased to report that your water meets all current safety regulations.

You can learn more about your water in the detailed water quality report for your neighborhood, available for customers and the public at the URLs below. Or, if you’d like to receive a printed copy by mail, please call Customer Care at 480-987-9870. 

Wastewater Facility Improvements, Section 11, and Odor Concerns 

We’re making progress addressing odor issues at the Section 11 wastewater treatment plant, which includes four large aeration basins. Basin #2 was identified as the most immediate concern. 

Over a seven-month period, we drained Basin #2, removed a layer of sludge four-to-six feet deep (less than 18 inches is considered optimal for the wastewater treatment process), relined the entire basin and replaced the aerators that clean the water. Basin #2 is now filled and operating properly. As we noted last month, recent water quality samples indicate that the aerators in all four basins are undersized. The new aerators we ordered have come in and we’re actively installing these in the remaining three basins. Once installed, they will improve both aeration performance and odors. 

Along with these improvements, we’re taking steps to enhance the anaerobic conditions in the deep zone settling area. We’ve also installed ECOSORB units at Section 11, which use natural, environmentally friendly substances to mitigate odors and turn on automatically when they detect odor emissions at a certain level. 

Expanding the Pecan wastewater treatment plant is a priority capital improvement project and includes a plan to rehab the headworks and influent pump station. As we work through the legal, regulatory and contracting issues related to the Pecan expansion project, we’re simultaneously working to improve air quality connected to this plant by cleaning and rehabbing the collection system, improving turbulent flow conditions, and injecting chlorine at specific lift stations. 

We’d like to remind customers that some of the steps we’re taking to address odor issues throughout the Johnson Utilities system can cause occasional odor emissions. We know that these issues are important to you, and appreciate your ongoing patience as we make these improvements. 

Meter Management 

As we reported last month, the Arizona Corporation Commission in June approved EPCOR’s proposal to retain the current allowable number of new service connections at 28 per month, with the added provision that each developer may add two water connections per developer, per community, in Regions 1 and 2. It’s our hope that, as a result of our work to secured adequate water supplies for the future, we can recommend lifting the new service connection restrictions in these regions by the end of 2019. With the current conditions in Regions 3 and 4, we were able to lift the water meter restrictions in those two areas of the system. 

How You Can Help Us Improve Your Service 

EPCOR is committed to open and transparent communications with customers, and we place a high priority on courteous, knowledgeable customer service. 

If you experience issues with your water or wastewater service, we want to know about it. Please call the Customer Care number below, and give us as much specific information as you can about where and when the problem happened. Our Customer Care and Field Service representatives are ready and equipped to answer your questions and provide a positive experience. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you.