By Arizona Department of Environmental Quality
On May 22, 2019, The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) and the Arizona Attorney General’s Office (AGO) filed a civil case in Arizona Superior Court against Johnson Utilities, LLC, seeking penalties and injunctive relief in excess of $100 million. This case is about bringing relief to the San Tan Community from the negative impacts to residents, businesses and economic development for years by Johnson Utilities.
“Johnson Utilities has continuously failed to follow through in the normal collaborative process that ADEQ prefers to remedy non-compliance issues,” said Misael Cabrera, ADEQ Director. “Johnson Utilities has left the Department with no other choice than to pursue legal action.”
Since 2017, Johnson Utilities is the most cited private utility by ADEQ. In that time frame, ADEQ also received nearly 300 complaints from community members about Johnson Utilities, accounting for 68 percent of the total complaints received by the Water Quality Division.
The civil case is based on the statutory maximum fines for 57 counts listed in the complaint, which includes:
- Sanitary sewer overflows
- Discharges without a permit
- Overtopping of impoundments
- Monitoring and reporting violations
- Water pressure violations
- Unauthorized modifications
- Offensive odor
The statutory maximum fines range from $500 to $25,000 per day, per violation. ADEQ is requesting injunctive relief for ongoing violations.