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EPCOR Update June 27th

EPCOR Update June 27th

The water quality report is available for customers and the public on the Johnson Utilities website – or you can request to have a printed copy mailed to you by calling Customer Care at 480-987-9870. To download a copy of the report for your service area, please visit the URLs below:

More about Water Quality

Some potential sources of groundwater have nitrate levels over the allowable limit because of their proximity to past and current agricultural activities. For that reason, it’s important to have adequate water treatment methods in place as we add new water supplies to the system.

As we’ve reported in recent months, two technologies we’re using to treat water are ion exchange (IX) and reverse osmosis (RO). The new IX equipment at the Main Yard is now fully operational, and we’re working through minor corrections that are common when a system of this type is installed. We’re exploring the next phase of the IX improvement plan, which entails adding one more IX treatment tank at the Main Yard facility.

We also have the RO system working at Morning Sun Farms plant site, and this is enabling us to use water from the San Tan #1 well.

Summer Water Supply

July is typically the highest-use month of the year for water in Arizona and we expect the available supply to meet peak demand for the Johnson Utilities system. To do that, all water sources must stay operational at full capacity with little room for error. We’re monitoring all wells and other facilities carefully to make sure they function as they should through the warmest part of the summer.

The San Tan #1 well is now adding approximately 600 gallons per minute (gpm) to the system, and will be capable of producing nearly double that amount by mid-July after a power upgrade is completed. The Magma 1 well also will be operating soon at a potential capacity of 700 gpm.

We’re also staying the course in identifying new sources of water to support future growth. Morning Sun Farms #2 well has good production potential and will need a power upgrade. Three other wells tested this spring may be able to add capacity to the system – however, the water they produce does not currently meet Federal safety regulations and we’re weighing options to bring these wells into compliance.

Did You Know? On average, according to the Arizona Department of Water Resources, Arizona households use about 7,000 gallons of water per month. About 70% of that is outdoors – lawns, landscaping, water features, and more. But some people use less, and others use much more.

Wastewater Improvements, Capital Projects and Odor Concerns

On a day-to-day basis, we continue making immediate improvements on issues at the existing wastewater treatment facilities. Here are some recent actions:

  • There are about 379 miles of wastewater pipeline in the Johnson Utilities system – so far, we’ve spent almost 100 hours cleaning debris and grease out of almost 12 miles of pipeline, prioritizing neighborhoods where overflows have historically been a problem.

  • We’ve also cleaned six lift stations – the infrastructure that keeps wastewater flowing properly to the treatment plants – and specialized service equipment has been purchased to keep on top of this moving forward.

How you can help: Everything we flush down the drain enters the wastewater collection system. Just like at home, too much grease and debris can clog things up. Use the trash, not your drain, to dispose of wet wipes, labels from fruits and vegetables, and fats, oils and greases.

  • A new monitoring system for all wastewater lift stations now sounds an alarm when a station is nearing capacity so that we can respond immediately for better protection against overflows.

  • Pumps at the Main Yard lift station will be replaced in the fall, and we’re scoping out solutions to a recently discovered discrepancy in pipe materials used to construct the force main.

  • Capital expansions and improvement plans at the Pecan, San Tan, and Anthem facilities are moving ahead. The Pecan plant expansion is a top priority, and we’re seeking approval from the Arizona Corporation Commission to begin work on these important projects.

  • We continue to monitor closely and respond to odor emissions at Section 11. Along with the short-term measures we described in our last update, we’ve developed a standard operating procedure to help plant operators identify where odor incidents are originating and respond to them as efficiently as possible.

The Oasis lift station that serves the plant has been a major source of odor emissions – to address this we’ve installed a larger carbon scrubber better equipped to handle hydrogen sulfide (H2S) that is a natural byproduct of wastewater. This new system was in place by the end of April – since then no odor exceedances have occurred.

Section 11 Water Reclamation Facility Improvements

Section 11 remains a key focus and priority – we’re in active discussions with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality spelling out how to proceed with Copper Basin Water Reclamation Facility, which will replace and allow closure of the Section 11 plant.

In the meantime, repairs to the weir system at Section 11 are almost done. Once finished, wastewater will be able to flow through the plant at the correct speed. Our next focus is the plant’s aerators – they are too small and don’t provide adequate aeration for the existing wastewater capacity. We’re weighing options to address this problem.

It’s Wildfire Season – What about Hydrants?

Fire hydrants in the Johnson Utilities system are owned, operated and maintained by Johnson Utilities. Since stepping in as Interim Manager, EPCOR has installed data loggers throughout the water system. These data loggers verify that the necessary water pressure is there when the fire department needs it, and tell us where to investigate low-pressure concerns that are reported.

Meter Management

At its June 11 Open Meeting, the Arizona Corporation Commission 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. This provision allows a bit more development to occur in the Johnson Utilities territory while also supporting EPCOR’s top objective – assuring a reliable supply of clean water to existing customers, especially through the peak summer season.

How You Can Help Us Improve Your Service

We know some customers may be hesitant to call us for assistance. Rest assured, EPCOR takes your service very seriously and our Customer Care and Field Service Representatives have recently undergone extensive training in order to provide you with an enhanced face-to-face experience. Please contact us with any concerns you may have.

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. We appreciate your cooperation, and the opportunity to serve you.

How to Contact EPCOR

  • 24/7 Bill Payment: 1-844-567-2502
  • Online: www.johnsonutilities.com
  • Customer service & billing inquiries: 480-987-9870
  • Emergencies: 480-987-9870 (press 6) or 480-887-0648

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