The Problem Continues As The Utility Denies The Problem

By San Tan Times Staff

Widespread problems with water continue throughout the San Tan Valley area. From low water pressure to periodic outages, to outright lack of service. No matter the area, residents are being impacted.

Low Water Pressure:

Reports are coming in from all over the area with problems of low water pressure. Oasis at Magic Ranch, Copper Basin, Magma Ranch, Johnson Ranch.

In some areas of San Tan Valley, the water pressure is so low that showering is almost impossible, while washers and dishwasher appliances are not functioning properly.

Water Outages:

From June 29 through July 1 Magma Ranch II was completely without water service. Calls to the Johnson Utilities emergency line went unanswered and their mailbox was full so residents were unable to leave messages. This area was particularly dangerous to be without services as it is remote and not within walking distance to any type of supermarket or convenience store.

Based on ADEQ’s guidelines, anything over 24 hours without service and the utility is required to provide solutions to the customers that were affected, such as hauling in water.

No such services were provided or offered to the Magma Ranch community.

Magma Ranch isn’t the only community experience outages, unfortunately. Johnson Ranch residents have been reporting water being shut off from midnight to around 3 AM on multiple days to the point that it is now an expected occurrence.

Johnson Utilities Claims 

A recent AZCentral article stated, “Johnson Utilities disputes the need for any intervention, and said the water company is making big strides in improving customer service and operations, including water pressure.”

“We do not foresee additional problems this summer,” Johnson Utilities attorney Jeffrey Crockett said in an interview with The Arizona Republic.

Crockett making this statement ignores the ongoing Hydrogen Sulfide issues that have been taking place consistently since April. Additionally, water pressure problems have maintained even after the claim of the failed pump being fixed.

“He said a pump on a well failed May 31 and caused a variety of problems, all of which were addressed within a few days after a quick repair.”

Crockett’s statement in the article is interesting as he makes it sound like a “few days” is a positive, when in fact ADEQ found them in violation due to the slow response that Johnson Utilities had when fixing the problem.

“Crockett, who also has testified at the bribery trial, has argued that the commissioners don’t have a reason or the right to put a new manager in charge.”

  • Unfortunately, Crockett appears to be unaware of the problems. For his convenience we have listed them out below:
  • Hydrogen Sulfide exceedances taking place every week since, at least, April which is an immediate health and safety risk.
  • Consistently low water pressure throughout the San Tan Valley area.
  • Low water pressure from fire hydrants that do not meet minimal specifications from any municipality or the requirements of the fire department which is an immediate health and safety risk.
  • Slow response time which is in violation of ADEQ
  • Pulling water meters of 35 construction crews due to the inability to provide services to the area.
  • Inaccurate water meter reading leading to overcharging of residents
  • Sanitary System Overflows as recently as June in Oasis at Magic Ranch

“Johnson Utilities is a company that is improving day by day under current management, that is working diligently and expeditiously to address problems as they arise, that has contracted for the consulting services of a third-party expert in the operation and maintenance of water and wastewater utilities,”

That third party contractor, James Taylor, stated that Johnson Utilities did a poor job planning for the summer back in May. As we enter into July, Johnson Utilities own contractor was proven correct that Johnson Utilities did a poor job preparing for the summer months which now results in inadequate services for the San Tan Valley area. 

Where does that leave San Tan Valley?

The ACC is scheduled to have an evidentiary hearing on Monday, July 16 regarding the ongoing problem of low water pressure.

For those experiencing problems, it is important to submit the complaints to the ACC and ADEQ.

Submit an ACC complaint: eservice.azcc.gov/utilities/publiccomment

Docket number #WS-02987A-0151.

Submit an ADEQ complaint: legacy.azdeq.gov/function/compliance/complaint.html

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