A Customer Update

By EPCOR

As Interim Manager of Johnson Utilities, EPCOR focuses on infrastructure to support safe, reliable water and wastewater services – maximizing the functionality of existing facilities through targeted repairs, upgrades and operations, and strategically planning for new components to meet current and future demand.

It’s a big job that requires daily attention as well as long-term vision, commitment and follow-through. Here’s an overview of what we’ve been tackling in the last few weeks toward steady improvements in the Johnson Utilities systems and services for customers.

Water Supply and Quality 

Magma Well #1 is online and producing 700 gallons per minute (gpm) of water – to put that in perspective, the average Arizona home uses 360 gallons per day. Because of the upgrades EPCOR has made to this well in 2019, it’s helping meet customer demand and stabilizing water pressure in the Magma subdivisions. 

We’ve also focused our attention on Morning Sun Farms Well #2, which produces good quality water without any additional treatment. Recently upgraded with a larger pump and motor, the well now produces more than double the supply of water, from 450 gpm to 1,050 gpm. 

We’re making progress evaluating the Ellsworth, Crestfield and McRae wells – they are already drilled, but the water they produce shows nitrate levels above the limits set by the Environmental Protection Agency. We’re continuing to explore ways we might be able to safely bring these wells into service. For example, at Crestfield we’re looking at modifications that would allow the well to pump water from deeper zones with potentially better-quality water. 

On the water treatment front, we’re moving ahead with plans to add a second ion exchange (IX) unit at the main yard in spring 2020. During the last year, new IX technology has proven to be an excellent method for bringing significant new sources of water into safety compliance and bolstering available supplies throughout the system. 

Water Pressure and Update on Meter Management Program 

Thanks to increased water supply and efforts to pinpoint the origins of water pressure problems, we’re seeing water pressure improvements in the Magma and Magic Ranch neighborhoods. Going forward, we’re upgrading the electrical equipment at the Ricke water plant to help sustain normal water pressure in these areas in case of power outages. 

We’re pleased to report that we’re now on schedule to recommend lifting the limitations on new service connections in Regions 1 and 2 by the end of 2019 without impacting service to existing customers. This is a major achievement, and we want to thank customers and other stakeholders for their patience and cooperation as we’ve made the necessary improvements throughout the system to make this possible.

Wastewater System and Air Quality Improvements

We continue to pay close attention to and mitigate the potential of sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) at the main yard lift station. As we’ve reported previously, one problem contributing to SSOs was malfunctioning pumps at the main yard. We’ve now finished replacing the pumps, and all are fully operational.

We’ve also begun a project to replace old and unsafe electrical panels at lift stations throughout the wastewater collection system. Lift stations are crucial structures that work with gravity to move wastewater flows to treatment facilities. Of the 33 lift stations in the Johnson Utilities system, some were in fair condition when EPCOR stepped in as Interim Manager and others needed substantial repair. Replacing electrical panels is a much-needed improvement for the wastewater system as a whole to operate safely and reliably.

Section 11 and Air Quality Improvements 

There has been a marked decrease in odors associated with the treatment processes at the Section 11 wastewater treatment facility in recent months. The EPCOR and Johnson Utilities team monitors conditions closely every day, and we’re taking additional steps to mitigate remaining issues contributing to odors. For example, we recently repaired all 36 weir boxes at the plant so wastewater flows can now move more efficiently through the facility. The deep zone cleaning project reported in previous updates is also complete, and we’ve finished installing additional aerators to supplement the existing units that were too small. Future H2S related projects include expanding the use of both air monitoring systems along Section 11 facility fence lines and the installation of additional “EcoSorb” air purification systems to assist in the eradication of odors. 

Did You Know? 

The Johnson Utilities website now contains air quality notifications related to Section 11. Known as “elevated H2S levels,” most of these incidents have been linked to ongoing system repairs and maintenance projects – you’ll find current monthly reports under “Updates from EPCOR.”

Help Us Keep Your Drains Clean

The holidays are coming, and that can mean extra cooking and people in your house. Remember not to wash fats, oils, and grease (FOG) down your sink or garbage disposal, and please avoid flushing anything besides bath tissue down the toilet.

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