It Was A Long Week of Testifying
The Johnson Utilities Hearings were scheduled to run from Monday April 16 thru Wednesday April 18 or possibly into Thursday the 19th. Not only did the hearings run through Thursday, but they continued on to Friday. We are now hearing that they will continue on to next week and possibly into the following week.
For anyone who has been watching or in attendance these have been long days of listening to witnesses be questioned from both sides, interveners, corporation commissioners, and the judge. Instead of going through all of the details we thought giving some key quotes from the past week would be a little more helpful, and interesting, for our readers so here it goes!
“Johnson Utilities is a chronic region-wide problem that needs a chronic region-wide solution. An interim manager is the only solution that will provide meaningful relief to the region as a whole,”
~Albert Acken Attorney for Florence and Queen Creek
“Johnson Utilities experiences more SSO (Sanitary Sewer Overflows) than any other private entity.”
~Trevor Baggiore, Arizona Department of Environmental Quality – Water Quality Division Director
“ADEQ does not have a position whether an interim manager should be appointed to Johnson Utilities.”
~Trevor Baggiore | ADEQ Director of Water Quality
“Johnson Utilities is #2 – second to the City of Phoenix – in SSO’s (Sanitary Sewer Overflows) in the state of Arizona.”
~Trevor Baggiore | ADEQ Director of Water Division
“Odor problems on Hunt Highway has been satisfied and 99% of the customers are pleased with the service.”
“53% of their (Johnson Utilities) compliance issues were overdue (surpassing their due dates).”
~David Dunaway | ADEQ Waste Water Manager
“No design problems because we had engineers who’ve designed this, but contractors dumping mops and lumber and the grease and baby wipes that clog up the pipes cause SSO’s (Sanitary Sewer Overflows).”
Queen Creek did not move forward with purchasing Johnson Utilities because they evaluated a $155-$160 million infrastructure improvement + $112 million dollars in financial obligations and payback agreements QC would need to pay (totaling around $282 million dollars). The $282 million could not be covered by the current JU water/sewer rates customers pay. – John Kross Queen Creek Town Manager (The $282 million does not include the cost of what George Johnson wanted to sell Johnson Utilities for. The sale would’ve been $150 million + $282 million = $432 million total cost.)
RUCO Attorney: Did the system (Johnson Utilities) fail to meet municipal standards?
John Kross (Town Manager of Queen Creek): Yes. Significant aspects of it.
“36 lift stations are 36 points of failure….There’s a direct correlation to the number of SSO’s (Sewer Sanitary Overflows) in relation to the number of lift stations.” ~ Paul Gardner | Queen Creek Utilities Director
“The operational maintenance over the last decade was quite alarming.” – Paul Gardner | Queen Creek Utilities Director
“It looks like; it is a system that was neglected.” –
~Paul Gardner | Queen Creek Utilities Director
“I can’t even believe there’s a section 11.” ~ Paul Gardner | Queen Creek Utilities Director
“Amazing how George Johnson doesn’t recall most things that are negative, but sharp as a tack on things that help his case.”
~ Nick Myers
There are a lot more, and a lot more to come next week.