• Arizona
  • Thursday , Feb 1 , 2018

Area Info

San Tan Valley Area Information

4 minutes reading time (772 words)

Water Warning Still in Effect

Water Warning

After the first set of lab results on Oct 27th showed nitrates exceeding the federal standards, a second set of samples were drawn and tested on Nov 21st.  Those results came back on November 29th with another high nitrate level, requiring Johnson Utilities to notify the public within 24 hours.  With no notification being sent out by the utility provider, on November 30th, December 1st or December 2nd and ADEQ being unable to reach Johnson Utilities to learn what they were doing to address the issue, ADEQ reached out to the public Friday evening, December 2nd to notify the customers directly.

About an hour and a half after the story broke in the media, customers who visited the Johnson Utilities Facebook page, saw a post stating that the water was safe to drink.  Johnson Utilities claimed that the "original samples were not correctly performed or read" and that they had "sampled twice since then. OUR WATER IS SAFE TO DRINK."

SanTanValley.com spoke with ADEQ this afternoon and as of 5pm this evening, no reports or results, showing the nitrate levels were at safe levels had been received.  

[READ MORE: High Nitrates Found in Johnson Utilities Water - Do Not Drink]

"We did receive a phone call from Johnson Utilities this afternoon, stating that they took new samples and their water was fine," sayes Caroline Oppleman, a spokesperson for ADEQ.  "Unfortunately the method they claimed to have used, does not meet federal guidelines for testing and even so, we still have not received the results they claim to have via fax, email, hand delivery, nothing.  So as far as ADEQ is concerned, the water warning is still in effect as nothing has been produced to prove the water is safe to drink."

ADEQ sent techs out today to gather their own samples from each of the sites to test.  Normally nitrate testing takes up to a week, however ADEQ has expedited the results and should have results by the end of day Wednesday, Dec 7th.

Until new results are presented that show the water is safe to drink, ADEQ is urging residents to not drink the water.  

[READ MORE: Clean Water Petition Created by San Tan Valley Residents]

Original ADEQ Water Warning

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) learned today that drinking water test results of Johnson Utilities water exceeded the federal drinking water standard for nitrate. Because Johnson Utilities has not contacted ADEQ or responded to our inquiries, ADEQ is not able to verify whether Johnson Utilities has completed the required notification to its customers about this important water quality concern.


Water sample results collected 10/27/2016 and 11/21/2016 showed nitrate levels of 12 mg/L and 11.4 mg/L, respectively. This is above the nitrate standard, or maximum contaminant level (MCL), of 10 mg/L. Nitrate in drinking water is a serious health concern for infants less than six months old. 

Nitrate in drinking water can come from natural, industrial, or agricultural sources (including septic systems and run-off). Levels of nitrate in drinking water can vary throughout the year. 

What should I do?  What does this mean?

  • DO NOT GIVE THE WATER TO INFANTS. Infants below the age of six months who drink water containing nitrate in excess of the MCL could become seriously ill and, if untreated, may die. Symptoms include shortness of breath and blue baby syndrome. Blue baby syndrome is indicated by blueness of the skin. Symptoms in infants can develop rapidly, with health deteriorating over a period of days. If symptoms occur, seek medical attention immediately.
  • Water, juice, and formula for children under six months of age should not be prepared with tap water. Bottled water or other water low in nitrates should be used for infants until further notice.
  • DO NOT BOIL THE WATER. Boiling, freezing, filtering, or letting water stand does not reduce the nitrate level. Excessive boiling can make the nitrates more concentrated, because nitrates remain behind when the water evaporates. 
  • Adults and children older than six months can drink the tap water (nitrate is a concern for infants because they can't process nitrates in the same way adults can). However, if you are pregnant or have specific health concerns, you may wish to consult your doctor.

 If you would like to file a formal complaint with the Arizona Corporation Commission, click here.



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