FOR MORNING SUN FARMS CUSTOMERS – WE’RE SIMPLIFYING YOUR TRASH BILL
Customers in the Morning Sun Farms development have been paying for Republic Services trash pickup as an item on their monthly water/wastewater bills. These customers needed to call Johnson Utilities with questions about their trash bills and contact Republic Services with inquiries about their trash pickup.
EPCOR is now working with Republic Services to phase out this arrangement, effective in the April billing cycle.
Removing trash fees from water/wastewater bills will simplify customer accounts and provide customers with a single point of contact – Republic Services – for all questions dealing with their trash service and bills.

 Who does this change affect?
This applies to customers in the Morning Sun Farms neighborhood who previously paid their Republic Services fees as a line item on their Johnson Utilities bill.

 When will this happen? 
After the March billing cycle for your water/wastewater service.

 How will customers pay their trash bills now? 
Republic Services will bill you separately after the March billing cycle.

 What will happen with my trash deposit?
We are working with Republic Services to ensure your trash deposit is properly reflected with your account in their system once they start your billing.



EPCOR IS REFUNDING CUSTOMER DEPOSITS – WATCH FOR A CREDIT IN YOUR MARCH BILL
In the past, some Johnson Utilities customers – now EPCOR’s San Tan customers – were required to make deposits when they started their water and/or wastewater services. 
As EPCOR prepares to integrate our San Tan customers into EPCOR’s account management system, we’re starting now to make changes that will benefit you, including 24/7 access to EPCOR customer care.
And, because EPCOR does not require or collect deposits from customers, we’re also refunding existing deposits as a credit on those customers’ March 2021 bill. 

Who does this apply to? 
Customers who were not able to establish credit when they opened their accounts were previously required to provide a deposit.

How much will customers get back?
We expect the average refund to be a little more than $100, depending on your class of service (e.g. water, wastewater or both). 

How and when will customers get their refunds? 
Those customers receiving a refund will see it as a credit on their March 2021 bill. 


CUSTOMER UPDATE  
January 29, 2021

A New Chapter for Johnson Utilities Customers: Ownership Transfer to EPCOR Complete  
We are pleased to share with you that, effective January 29, 2021, Johnson Utilities has become part of the EPCOR family of customers. 
The Arizona Corporation Commission voted to approve the transfer of ownership of Johnson Utilities to EPCOR on December 22, 2020. The financial transaction and formal transfer of ownership was completed on January 29, 2021, opening a new chapter for you and for EPCOR.  


What does the ownership transfer mean for customers? 
EPCOR’s mission is providing clean and safe water and wastewater service to our customers. The former Johnson Utilities service area will now operate as EPCOR’s San Tan water and wastewater districts. In our new capacity as your water and wastewater provider, we’ll build on the good work we’ve accomplished already and expand it in significant ways to benefit customers and the community. 
Importantly, we will now be able to move forward with much-needed infrastructure improvements, focusing immediately on the wastewater system. The three-year improvement plan has already been developed and we are moving quickly into action. We appreciate your continued patience and support as we work together to implement these improvements. 


Customer accounts and bill paying 
Approximately 29,450 water and 40,160 wastewater customer accounts now need to be transferred into the EPCOR account management system. We are already working on this detailed process and expect to be finished and have customers in the EPCOR system by July 2021. 
Until then, please continue to pay your bills and manage your account as you always have. The Johnson Utilities website and online portal will remain open and available until July 2021 – after that you’ll manage your account directly through epcor.com. 
Between now and when your account is transferred into EPCOR’s system, you’ll be receiving ongoing information about what your new EPCOR bill looks like, your new and upgraded account management portal through epcor.com, your new 24/7 customer service, and how to contact EPCOR. 
Please note: Before your account is transferred into EPCOR’s system, you’ll see name and logo changes on your existing bill and the Johnson Utilities website.


EPCOR Customer Assistance Programs
EPCOR’s new San Tan water and wastewater customers can apply to receive assistance from EPCOR’s existing low income, disabled veterans, deployed service member and COVID hardship programs now – even before your account is migrated into our system. For information on how to do this, please visit www.epcor.com and select “Account and Billing” and then “Assistance Programs” or email us at mywater@epcor.com.    


EPCOR Receives Grant for Pecan to New Magma Water Line   
The Arizona Department of Water Resources has awarded EPCOR a $250,000 grant to help build a reclaimed water pipeline between the Pecan Wastewater Treatment Plant and the New Magma Irrigation and Drainage District (NMIDD) for the benefit of Johnson Utility customers, agricultural water users, and the San Tan Valley region to support water management goals in the Phoenix Active Management Area (AMA) by reducing demand for groundwater pumping.
Why is the pipeline needed? During the time EPCOR has served as Interim Manager of Johnson Utilities, it’s been necessary from time to time to release excess, fully treated effluent from the Pecan plant into the Queen Creek wash due to current capacity limitations at the treatment facility.  
Reclaimed wastewater is a very valuable resource in Arizona, and EPCOR aims to reuse or recharge 100% of it. EPCOR was the only private water utility to participate in the DCP Mitigation Agreement. As Interim Manager, and now the owner of Johnson Utilities, EPCOR has committed to deliver up to 2,200 acre-feet of reclaimed water annually – enough to cover more than 2,200 football fields in a foot of water – from the Pecan Wastewater Treatment Plant to the New Magma Irrigation and Drainage District (NMIDD). 
This project benefits customers by partially offsetting the need for groundwater replenishment from the Central Arizona Groundwater Replenishment District (CAGRD). This will, in turn, provide future decreases to the CAGRD fee that customers pay, helping to lower their bills.
We expect pipeline construction to begin this year. 


Rate Case Public Comment Sessions   
The Arizona Corporation Commission is accepting public comments on the rate review. Two phone-in sessions are scheduled for Friday, February 5, 2021. Interested parties may also submit written comments. For details, click here.

 
Join us! Follow EPCOR on Facebook and Twitter
EPCOR’s San Tan water and wastewater districts are invited to follow their new water and wastewater provider on Facebook (@EPCORUSA) and Twitter (@EPCORUSA) to find information and helpful tips about your service and more, work we’re doing to keep your service safe and reliable, and more about EPCOR in your community.


Please Note: The Johnson Utilities LLC Facebook page will be discontinued on February 15.

Here to Serve You   
Together we’ve seen a lot of progress in the last 30 months, with much more to come. Since our appointment as Interim Manager in 2018, we’ve gained an in-depth understanding of the Johnson Utilities system and laid a strong foundation for the future. Through it all, we’ve remained committed to bringing our expertise and experience to delivering safe and reliable services for you. 
We’re eager to carry this good work forward as we transition your service to EPCOR. As always, we are here 24/7, and we encourage you to contact us with questions or concerns about your service. 


How to Contact Us
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

   
Customers can also find information about EPCOR’s San Tan districts on epcor.com, but will not be able to pay bills through EPCOR’s billing system until July 2021. Until then, please continue to manage your account, pay your bill, and contact us with questions or concerns about your service using the contact information above.


ACC APPROVES TRANSFER OF JOHNSON UTILITIES OWNERSHIP TO EPCOR


In October 2020, Johnson Utilities and EPCOR announced they had reached an agreement for EPCOR to purchase the assets of Johnson Utilities and, together, had requested Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) approval to transfer the Johnson Utilities’ certificate of convenience and necessity, or the right and responsibility to provide service, to EPCOR.


We are pleased to share that the ACC voted on December 22, 2020, to approve that request. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, we expect ownership to transfer to EPCOR in mid-to-late January 2021.


Once the transfer of ownership is complete, the Johnson Utilities service area will operate as EPCOR’s new San Tan water and wastewater districts and EPCOR will be able to move forward with the three-year, $138 million infrastructure improvement plan that is needed. We appreciate the continued patience and support of customers and communities that Johnson Utilities serves as we work together to make this transition.


Customer Service: We anticipate customer account integration into EPCOR’s billing and account management system to be complete by late spring/early summer 2021. Before accounts transfer to EPCOR, customers will receive detailed information about their new EPCOR customer experience.


Until then, customers should continue to manage their accounts, pay their bills, and request service support as they do today by contacting the Johnson Utilities customer service team at 480-987-9870 or customerservice@johnsonutilities.com.


Please note: Johnson Utilities customers can apply to receive assistance from EPCOR’s existing low income, disabled veterans, deployed service member and COVID hardship programs as soon as EPCOR becomes the owner (prior to customer account integration).

​​​​​​

A CUSTOMER UPDATE FROM EPCOR

December 8, 2020


What’s a Utility of the Future Today? In October, EPCOR was honored to be named a Utility of the Future Today at WEFTEC, the world’s largest water quality conference and exhibition. The prestigious UFT recognition spotlights EPCOR’s work in the area of wastewater operations – expertise that we’re proud to contribute to our management of Johnson Utilities. Learn more about what makes a Utility of the Future Today and EPCOR’s recognition here.
 

Water Supply Developments
 As we continue to move through the winter season, the Johnson Utilities water system is well equipped to meet customer water demand, and water pressures are consistently up – all results of the numerous improvements and projects finished in the last year.
All told, we’ve added nine million gallons of water supply since taking over as Interim Manager, including new flows from the recently-completed Promenade Well #2.
The discharge manifold at the Ricke water plant that feeds the Magma subdivisions has been replaced and upgraded to accept emergency bypass pumping. This will help sustain water pressures during power outages or other unforeseen issues.
Now that the Bella Vista water plant is online, the reverse osmosis treatment system temporarily installed at Johnson Ranch Well #4 is no longer needed and will be decommissioned. We’ve also completed automated chlorination projects at various locations that support efficient water treatment systemwide

Lead and Copper Testing Complete. In September, EPCOR completed lead and copper compliance monitoring for the Johnson Utilities water system. All results were well within allowable safety standards. Thanks to the customers who participated in the testing process for your cooperation.

 Wastewater System Information
On the wastewater side of the utility, EPCOR is focused on ongoing maintenance and repair projects we’ve implemented throughout the system – including steps to mitigate odors at Section 11, an expedited process for responding immediately to infrequent sanitary sewer overflows, and effluent management improvements at the Pecan Water Reclamation Facility (WRF).  
We’re exploring the feasibility of adding additional recharge wells to increase effluent disposal at the SanTan Wastewater Treatment Plant – one of the bottlenecks of that facility – and we’re wrapping up seasonal cleaning of the basins at the Pecan plant as required by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.
While we continue laying groundwork for the major improvements needed throughout the wastewater system, construction on these projects is still on hold due to lack of funding.  

Queen Creek Sewer Interconnect  
To address immediate, critical capacity issues at the Pecan WRF, EPCOR has reached an agreement with the Town of Queen Creek on the terms and conditions of a temporary interconnect with the Town’s sewer collection system. The Arizona Corporation Commission unanimously approved the agreement at its Open Meeting November 4. Design is now underway for three interconnect points, and the work is expected to take approximately four months.

Planned Improvements Still Critical, Need Funding 
EPCOR continues to make significant improvements in the Johnson Utilities system, but significant investment – more than $138 million worth over the next three years – is still necessary to secure the system’s long-term health and to provide safe, reliable service now and into the future. Without these projects, and the ability to fund them, the ongoing reliability of the water and wastewater systems is questionable and further growth cannot be supported.
EPCOR has access to the funding and lower interest rates that will make these critical improvements possible if ownership of the system transfers to EPCOR. Unless and until that happens, these projects, which include the expansion of the Pecan Water Reclamation Facility and the replacement of Section 11, remain unfunded and will not move forward.

Grant Secured to Help Pay for Pipeline Project 
In October, the Arizona Department of Water Resources awarded a $250,000 grant to EPCOR and Johnson Utilities to assist in building a new pipeline that will bring reclaimed water from the Pecan Water Reclamation Facility to the new Magma Irrigation and Drainage District.
The project was recommended for approval by the Phoenix Active Management Groundwater Users Advisory Council and is one of 13 receiving funding. Receiving this grant removes $250,000 from costs that would become part of rates at some point in the future once the project is complete.

Seasonal Reminders about Your Pipes
The holidays look different for most of us this year, but there’s still a good chance that customers will be using more water than usual. Please remember not to wash fats, oils, and grease (FOG) down your sink or garbage disposal, and avoid flushing anything besides bath tissue down the toilet.
Now’s also a good time to brush up on ways to protect pipes from freezing in the rare event temperatures dip below freezing. Pipes closest to the cold are most susceptible to freezing, so disconnect garden hoses and keep a close eye on faucets connected to pipes in exterior walls of your house. If your pipes do freeze, using a hair dryer is a safe way to warm them up.

Rate Case Update 
On November 25, 2020, the ACC temporarily suspended the rate review while it considers the request to transfer ownership from Johnson Utilities to EPCOR. A new schedule will be established in January.

 Some background: As Interim Manager of Johnson Utilities, EPCOR was required by the ACC to file this rate review on behalf of Johnson Utilities – it is not related to EPCOR or its customers. The ACC normally takes at least a year to review and make a decision on new rates. EPCOR contracted third-party experts to develop the application. Our internal experts oversaw the process and filed it on behalf of Johnson Utilities February 14, 2020.

What the math is based on: Current water and wastewater rates for Johnson Utilities are based on costs from 2007 – the new request is based on costs 12 years later, in 2019. The application requests the difference between what Johnson Utilities is currently collecting and what it needs to collect based on current costs. Based on the figures in the application, the potential change to the average monthly residential customer bill could range from $3 to $15 – this depends on whether a customer receives water service, wastewater service, or both, and how much water they use. Customers have a great deal of control over their water bill – the less water you use, the lower your bill will be. If the ACC approves new revenues from this application, they will not be used to pay for future capital investments outlined in a plan the ACC approved in late 2019.

 Where the numbers come from: Maintaining necessary infrastructure to support effective water and wastewater services requires ongoing investment. Rates generate the money it takes to run and maintain a utility – rate changes are looked at when rates aren’t generating enough money to cover the costs, or when they are bringing in more money than needed. For Johnson Utilities, it’s a combination of changes in the cost to run the system and critical infrastructure projects that have already been completed to improve your service.

Need Help? We’re Here for You  
If you have questions about your bill or your water or wastewater service, please call the Johnson Utilities customer care team at the number below. As always, we appreciate your cooperation as we work to deliver safe, reliable water and wastewater services to Johnson Utilities customers.

 How to Contact Us
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   

 


AN UPDATE FOR JOHNSON UTILITIES CUSTOMERS
Over the past two years, EPCOR and Johnson Utilities have worked to enhance service, reliability and safety for customers and the communities Johnson Utilities serves. Such efforts have not been without challenges, but a significant amount of progress has been made and we appreciate your support as we’ve worked to enhance your service.

In August 2018, EPCOR was appointed Interim Manager of Johnson Utilities. Under EPCOR’s leadership, we have focused on the critical priorities needed to address operational and infrastructure issues, to ensure clean, safe and reliable water and wastewater services, and to retain Johnson Utilities customers’ trust.

Two years later, we are pleased to announce that Johnson Utilities and EPCOR have reached an agreement for EPCOR to purchase the assets of Johnson Utilities. Together, the companies filed an application on October 5, 2020, with the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) requesting approval of the transfer of Johnson Utilities’ certificate of convenience and necessity, or the right to provide service, to EPCOR.

EPCOR is fully committed to the road ahead, and we believe this is the best long-term solution for Johnson Utilities customers and employees.

The sale of Johnson Utilities to EPCOR is subject to regulatory approval, and customers will receive information on the application, including a public hearing date and details, as we move through the process. Johnson Utilities and EPCOR are committed to a smooth transition for both customers and employees. Until then, the focus remains the same – working to improve the delivery of safe, reliable service for Johnson Utilities customers.

We appreciate your patience as we continue to focus on the future for Johnson Utilities customers and your communities. 

ELEVATED CONCENTRATION OF HYDROGEN SULFIDE ODORS
SECTION 11 WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANT


Johnson Utilities and the Pinal County Air Quality Control District meet weekly to review and discuss air quality data measured in 10-minute intervals, routinely collected at a monitoring station located near Johnson Utilities’ Section 11 Wastewater Treatment Plant (Section 11). Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is a natural outcome of the wastewater treatment process and, through proper maintenance and operations, can be effectively controlled. The Pinal County limit for H2S is 0.030 ppb for a 30-minute average.

 Although significant work has been completed under EPCOR’s management to mitigate the longstanding odor issues at Section 11, several very brief and isolated periods of elevated values for H2S have been noted at the Section 11 plant in July and August 2020:


August 27, 2020 -             Maximum Value  0.033 PPM
August 20, 2020 –            Maximum Value  0.054 PPM
August 13, 2020-               Maximum Value  0.033 PPM
August 6, 2020 –              Maximum value of 0.081 PPM
July 23, 2020 –                  Maximum value of 0.040 PPM


Johnson Utilities, under EPCOR’s supervision, has reviewed these very brief excursions and determined that they were primarily the result of ongoing maintenance and repair efforts. 



​​A CUSTOMER UPDATE FROM EPCOR
July 26, 2020

Open Meetings at the Arizona Corporation Commission

Every month EPCOR makes detailed monthly reports to the Arizona Corporation Commission – the regulatory agency that appointed EPCOR as Interim Manager of Johnson Utilities in 2018 and oversees all private utilities in Arizona. ACC open meetings are open to the public, and past sessions are videotaped and archived. Learn more at www.azcc.gov or 1-800-222-7000.] In EPCOR’s July report to the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) we presented a summary of the progress we’ve made in the last 22 months to improve services for Johnson Utilities customers. We’ve included highlights of this report below.

 Improvements to Your Water Supply  
Since EPCOR stepped in as Interim Manager of EPCOR Utilities, we’ve added about 9 million gallons per day (gpd) of water supply to key areas in the system.  

Much of this new supply comes from the new Promenade and Bella Vista Farms wells we’ve installed, and the outlook is good for current capacity to meet current demand and accommodate immediate future growth.

We’ve also made important improvements to the systems that impact water pressure, including bringing the Bella Vista booster station online and upping capacity at the Morning Sun Farms plant. These changes have left us with much improved water pressure systemwide. At the same time, some remaining pressure issues will only be resolved by upsizing lines –this project is included in the long-term capital improvement plan.   

WHAT’S IN YOUR WATER?

The water in the Johnson Utilities system meets all water quality regulations for 2019. Your annual water quality report is available online, or you can call us for a printed copy. Equally important is water quality, and we’re pleased with the progress in this area. At new wells, we’ve followed construction criteria identified in the comprehensive groundwater evaluation that we had conducted for Johnson Utilities in 2019. That study laid out construction methods that maximize the probability that wells will produce water of high enough quality not to need treatment. This strategy is proving successful and it’s a significant benefit for efficiency and cost effectiveness.

As we’ve noted in previous reports, we’ve added a third vessel to the ion exchange (IX) water treatment system at Main Yard.

Going forward, our approach is keep following the construction criteria from our groundwater study as new wells are added. For the wells that were already in the system and which produce lower-quality water, we’ll continue using the IX water treatment technology at the Main Yard.     

Wastewater System Update   
At the time EPCOR stepped in as Interim Manager, one task that was front and center was sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) that customers had experienced for years. Problems at lift stations throughout the system were to blame for a lot of these, and we’ve mitigated most of these issues. The number, volume and extent of SSOs are all dramatically lower now and often caused by a third party.  

The four treatment plants in the Johnson Utilities system continue to be a critical focus of our attention. In wastewater industry, “equalization capacity” is the capability to store excess influent (or raw wastewater) that comes into a plant, hold it temporarily and feed it back through system at a lower-flow time.

None of the wastewater treatment plants in the Johnson Utilities system have equalization capacity. The key example is the Pecan plant. This facility was designed to handle 3 million gpd of influent. While we’ve made significant individual upgrades, repairs and other improvements to meet immediate needs since 2018, this plant is very frequently at or above capacity – especially during the winter when influent flows are usually highest.

San Tan and Anthem facilities also need equipment upgrades to bring them to full treatment capacity.

At Section 11, influent capacity was within 2 inches of overflowing the aeration basins when EPCOR came aboard. Since then we’ve worked hard to optimize existing infrastructure and its treatment capabilities, including cleaning lines that transport flow from one point to another, repairing weir boards that regulate flow, and many other projects we’ve reported on previously.  


This plant is now producing the best quality effluent that it can under current circumstances – however, ultimately, the facility needs to be completely replaced to meet current wastewater quality and air quality regulations.   

Looking Ahead – Long Range Solutions
Resolving these longer-term issues in the Johnson Utilities wastewater system requires major projects that are spelled out in the capital improvements plan the ACC approved in 2019. EPCOR is ready and prepared to take action on these projects immediately as soon as the needed financing from the utility’s ownership is in place.  

Here to Help You     
EPCOR and the Johnson Utilities team are committed to serving you now as always. If you have questions or experience issues with your water or wastewater service, please call the Customer Care number below.
A reminder that the Johnson Utilities customer service office at 968 E. Hunt Highway is still closed. You can pay bills or make other transactions by phone, email or the online account portal. If you have questions, please contact us – we’re here to help.

How to Contact Us
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   

A CUSTOMER UPDATE FROM EPCOR

June 18, 2020

 Office Closure and Customer Service Updates
With COVID-19 still active in Arizona, the Johnson Utilities customer service office at 968 E. Hunt Highway remains closed until further notice. You can pay bills or make other transactions via phone, email or the Johnson Utilities online account portal. If you need help, please visit www.johnsonutilities.com or call Customer Care at 480-987-9870.
The Johnson Utilities service staff is available for essential services such as responding to sewer backups and installing water meters at new locations. Some non-essential services may still be postponed.

 Water Quality Reports
EPCOR has finalized the 2019 water quality reports for the two districts in the Johnson Utilities service area. These annual reports are required by state and federal agencies for all regulated community water systems. Reports contain detailed testing data on dozens of regulated contaminants.
We are pleased to report that the water in the Johnson Utilities service area meets all current state and federal safety regulations.
Water quality reports are available online, or you can request a printed copy by calling Customer Care at 480-987-9870. Please use the links below to download the report for your service area:
2019 Water Quality Report – District 11-128
2019 Water Quality Report – District 11-136
 

More about Water Quality
The Johnson Utilities system relies solely on groundwater for customer water supply. Some potential sources of groundwater have nitrate levels over the allowable limit because they’re close to past and current agricultural activities. Adequate water treatment methods are critical to making sure the water that reaches your tap is clean, safe and healthy.
Since stepping in as Interim Manager of Johnson Utilities, EPCOR has prioritized water treatment as one of many strategies for ensuring customers have plenty of clean water now and in the future. To date, we’ve made numerous important improvements that boost the system’s overall treatment capabilities – including, most recently, installing a third ion exchange water treatment vessel at the Main Yard facility that adds 500 gallons per minute of treatment capacity.

Summer Water Supply
The Johnson Utilities water system is well prepared to meet customer water demand during the warm, high-demand season.  
Last month we shared updates about two new wells that are adding significant quantities of high-quality water to the system. We’re also focused on ways to maintain adequate water pressure in neighborhoods where pressure has been a concern in the past – namely the Magma subdivisions and Copper Basin area.  

Wastewater System Update   
Pecan Wastewater Treatment Facility. Last July the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) approved a comprehensive capital improvement plan for Johnson Utilities and ordered the utility’s owners to develop financing to carry it out.  
As we’ve shared in past updates, a top-priority project in the plan is expanding the Pecan Wastewater Treatment Facility. Although EPCOR has already made many improvements at the plant, major work has been delayed due to challenges securing financing from the utility’s owners. The ACC is currently addressing this important issue. 
On June 22 at 10 am the ACC will hold a special open meeting to address funding needed for capital improvements at Johnson Utilities. Johnson Utilities customers may dial into the meeting and provide comment regarding the need to have the Commission enforce the requirement that projects in the capital improvements plan be funded. Funding the capital plan will allow us to continue to improve utility service. Information on the meeting and dial-in instructions can be found on the agenda available here.

Section 11. As reported previously, odor concerns at Section 11 have improved significantly in the last year. There have been some minor exceedances of odor limits in the last month – these are more common during the warm season. While these exceedances are short in duration our goal is to have none, and we respond to any exceedances immediately. Ongoing work to address these issues includes installing a second Ecosorb odor mitigation unit at the plant. Although this is cost-effective interim treatment option, the long-term solution to problems at Section 11 is replacing the entire facility, again dependent on financing from the utility’s owners.


SSOs. It has been more than six months without any sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) related to lift station failures. Two very small incidents were recently caused by third-party damage to air relief valves (ARVs) – one was struck by a farmer and the other was an error caused by a road-paving contractor. While very small in size, we track and record every incident even if it is less than a gallon. The team responded in a timely manner and quickly restored the site to normal operations. There were no impacts to environmental or customer health.

Customer Satisfaction Reaches New High
Every month, a third-party company surveys customer satisfaction levels among Johnson Utilities customers. In May, the regular customer service survey showed 86% customer satisfaction across Johnson Utilities – up from 50% shortly after EPCOR was appointed Interim Manager. We’re pleased with these results and committed to even more improvements in your services.

Staying in Touch      
During this time of continued uncertainty with the COVID-19 pandemic, EPCOR and the Johnson Utilities staff are working hard every day to deliver the services you count on. Please call Customer Care with any questions or concerns. We’re here for you and ready to help.

How to Contact Us
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   


A CUSTOMER UPDATE FROM EPCOR
May 18, 2020

 COVID-19 Service Updates
Are You Reopening Your Business?

If your property has been closed for several weeks, it’s a good idea to flush your water system thoroughly.

• Open all taps and run for at least 10 minutes.

• Flush all toilets and urinals.

• Run all water-using appliances before operating for service.

• Drain any systems that could have standing water in them - ice machines, outdoor misting systems, etc.

• If you have an appliance with a filter, replace water filters after flushing.

Questions? Call us at 480-987-9870.


As businesses gradually reopen in Arizona, EPCOR and the Johnson Utilities team are currently maintaining the precautions we put in place at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic to keep customers and employees safe. We’re monitoring conditions daily and will keep you informed of changes. In the meantime, please keep the following points in mind:

The Johnson Utilities customer service office at 968 E. Hunt Highway is still closed at this time. Please pay bills or make other transactions via phone, email or the Johnson Utilities online account portal. Visit www.johnsonutilities.com for more information or call Customer Care at 480-987-9870.

 Some non-essential services may still be postponed.The Johnson Utilities service staff is available for essential services such as responding to sewer backups and installing water meters at new locations.

A toilet is not a trash can. Please remember not to flush disposal disinfecting wipes, paper towels or anything other than toilet paper – these products may cause clogs that can lead to sewer backups and other problems.  

Working for Your Water Supply
As a result of improvements and new water sources developed over the last year, the Johnson Utilities water system is well positioned heading into the second summer season under EPCOR management.

Meeting customer water demand depends on adequate water supply, effective treatment processes and the right water pressure throughout the distribution system – and we’re focused on projects in each area to make sure you have the water you need when you need it throughout 2020. Our approach is to make most of existing resources and strategically invest in new ones as needed.

Water supply. Among the steps we’ve taken to increase water supplies are bringing two new wells online since this time last year. The Promenade Well #2 is fully operational and capable of producing 2.3 million gallons a day to the system, and Bella Vista Farms Well is online adding up to 2.75 million gallons per day.


Improvements to treatment capacity. As we’ve reported previously, a third ion exchange (IX) water treatment unit at the Main Yard is close to being ready for full operations. IX technology is the gold standard in the industry. Having a third unit will allow us to retire the temporary reverse osmosis system we put in place last year – also an effective treatment option, but one that produces significant wastewater and so is generally less efficient than IX. 


Ensuring good water pressure. Water pressure that’s high enough but not so high as to damage pipes is important to well-functioning water systems in homes and businesses. It’s also crucial to public safety to ensure water is available when needed.  
Low pressure was a problem in some neighborhoods when EPCOR took the helm as Interim Manager of Johnson Utilities – and we’ve already made many improvements. We continue to work on additional improvements at the Ricke water plant and Bella Vista plant to enhance water pressure consistency in the Magma subdivisions and Copper Basin area going into the high-use summer season.

Wastewater System     
On the wastewater side of the utility, we’ve logged more than six months with no odor limit exceedances at the Section 11 plant – evidence that the many improvements implemented during the last year to address air quality concerns are working.
Winter is the peak flow season for treated effluent cycling through the wastewater system, and we’re pleased with the progress that’s been made in managing effluent from the Pecan Plant since this time last year. Recent work at the plant includes rehabbing effluent injection wells, installing an inline booster pump to increase flow to reclaimed water customers, and an effluent pumping operation change.

Water Workers Are Essential

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, water and wastewater workers across the U.S. have been on the job every day to keep the water flowing and protect public and environmental health. Our thanks to the hardworking team at Johnson Utilities for their dedication during these critical months.


Johnson Utilities Rate Case Information 
All customers will receive a copy of the Johnson Utilities rate case Procedural Order in their May bill. This document contains information on ways customers are legally entitled to take part in the public rate case process initiated in February. For more information on these options, please contact the Arizona Corporation Commission Consumer Services Section at 602-542-4251 or 1-800-222-7000, or visit www.azcc.gov.

Community Meeting Reminder: As soon as it’s safe to do so, EPCOR will host a community meeting to provide details and answer questions about the rate case.

Questions? We’re Here for You     
During this time of transition to re-open businesses and public activities in Arizona communities, EPCOR and the Johnson Utilities staff continue working every day to deliver safe, high quality water and wastewater services. Please contact us with any questions you may have. We’re here to help.

How to Contact Us
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   

​A CUSTOMER UPDATE FROM EPCOR

April 24, 2020

 Reminders About Your Services Under COVID-19 Restrictions
Safe Flushing Guidelines


Please remember not to flush disinfecting wipes, paper towels, nitrile gloves or other products you may be using to keep your homes sanitary. These items are not flushable and can cause sewer backups and other problems. Standard industry guidance calls for flushing only toilet paper and nothing else – not even products labeled “flushable” – to keep pipes clear. Please dispose of all other products in the trash. We appreciate your cooperation.] During the evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, EPCOR and Johnson Utilities are monitoring conditions closely and following the latest guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization and our local and state governments.


We’re delivering your water and wastewater services as usual, and there are currently no interruptions to water or wastewater services related to COVID-19.

As a reminder, here are some adjustments we’ve made to regular business operations to help keep customers and employees safe.

  • We’ve suspended counter service for paying bills and other in-person customer transactions, and the Johnson Utilities customer service office at 968 E. Hunt Highway is currently closed.  Please pay bills or make other transactions via phone, email or the Johnson Utilities online account portal. You’ll find online resources for automated bill payment and electronic bill delivery on www.johnsonutilities.com.
  • We’ve suspended non-essential customer services such as optional meter replacement or maintenance. The Johnson Utilities service staff is still available for essential water and wastewater services such as responding to sewer backups and installing water meters at new locations. We’ve put distancing protocols in place for employees and ask customers to maintain a six-foot distance from crews.

For more details about our COVID-19 response, please visit www.johnsonutilities.com or call Customer Care at 480-987-9870.

 Customer Satisfaction Update
EPCOR regularly performs customer service surveys as part of our ongoing work to improve water, wastewater and customer services for the Johnson Utilities community.  

 In March, survey results showed that the team reached a level of 81% customer satisfaction – that’s up from 71% the month before and up from 50% in December 2018, shortly after EPCOR was appointed Interim Manager. These most recent results showed significant improvement in the issues of top concern to customers when EPCOR stepped in – including problems with water pressure and odor.

While we’re pleased with these numbers, we’re also working for even higher levels of customer satisfaction. Our thanks to Johnson Utilities customers for your feedback and cooperation while we’ve made these improvements to your services.

Johnson Utilities Rate Case Information  
A new rate case, developed by third-party experts contracted for Johnson Utilities and managed by EPCOR, was filed with the Arizona Corporation Commission in February, as required. All customers will receive a copy of the formal rate case Procedural Order in their May bill. Among other information, this document lays out ways Johnson Utilities customers are legally entitled to take part in the public rate case process, including the following.   

  • There will be a public hearing on the rate case that is scheduled to begin on February 5, 2021 at the ACC’s office in Phoenix. Customers and others can submit comments during the meeting in person or by phone.
  • The public can also send comments to the ACC by letter or online at any time.
  • The law allows for members of the public to intervene in the case under certain circumstances.
  • For details about all these actions, please see the Public Notice that you will receive in your next bill. You can also direct questions to the ACC’s Consumer Services Section at 602-542-4251 or 1-800-222-7000, or visit www.azcc.gov.


Community Meeting: We want to remind customers that, as soon as it’s safe to do so, a community meeting will be scheduled to provide more details and answer questions about the rate case.

May is Water Awareness Month   
Coronavirus and Water Safety During this time of uncertainty, many people are turning to bottled water at considerable expense to their wallets and the environment. We want to reassure you that your tap water remains safe and clean and is your most affordable water source. COVID-19 has not been detected in drinking water supplies anywhere. Your Johnson Utilities water supply is tested regularly and continues to meet all water safety regulations.


Did you know that the average U.S. household uses about 400 gallons of water per day? Over a month, that’s about the equivalent of four cement truck loads.

While we’re all spending more time at home, consider having a family conversation about easy ways to work together, conserve water and reduce next month’s water bill.  

  • Take short showers — a five minute shower uses 4-5 gallons of water compared to up to 50 gallons for a bath.
  • Shut off water while brushing your teeth, washing your hair and shaving and save up to 500 gallons a month.
  • Use a water-efficient showerhead. They’re inexpensive, easy to install and can save up to 750 gallons a month.
  • Run your clothes washer and dishwasher only when they are full. You can save up to 1,000 gallons a month.
  • Fixing a leaky toilet can save up to 1,000 gallons a month.
  • Adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered. Apply water only as fast as the soil can absorb it and during the cooler parts of the day to reduce evaporation.


We’re Here for You   
As Arizona communities navigate the evolving coronavirus situation, EPCOR and the Johnson Utilities staff are on the job every day providing the safe, high quality water and wastewater services you depend on. Visit the Johnson Utilities website for news updates – and please contact us with any questions you may have. We’re here to help.

How to Contact Us
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

   

A CUSTOMER UPDATE FROM EPCOR
March 25, 2020


COVID-19 and Your Services

As coronavirus (COVID-19) impacts communities in Arizona, we know customers are concerned about the health and safety of their families. EPCOR and Johnson Utilities are monitoring conditions closely and following the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization for the latest recommendations and guidance. Please review the following information about your services and changes to the way we’re conducting business in response to the coronavirus.

  • The community meeting originally scheduled for March 26 has been postponed. We’ll notify customers and the public when it’s appropriate to reschedule the community meeting.
  • We’re delivering your water and wastewater services as usual. There are currently no interruptions to water or wastewater services related to COVID-19.
  • We’ve suspended counter service for paying bills and other in-person customer transactions. The Johnson Utilities customer service office at 968 E. Hunt Highway is closed until further notice. Please pay bills or make other transactions via phone, email or the Johnson Utilities online account portal. You’ll find online resources for automated bill payment and electronic bill delivery on www.johnsonutilities.com.
  • We’ve suspended non-essential customer services such as optional meter replacement or maintenance. The Johnson Utilities service staff is still available for essential services such as responding to sewer backups and installing water meters at new locations. We’ve put distancing protocols in place for employees and ask customers to maintain a six-foot distance from crews.
  • Learn more here about what EPCOR and Johnson Utilities are doing to protect the health of customers and employees. 

 As always, you can also call Customer Care at 480-987-9870 with specific questions.


Water Supply and Quality

Construction at the new Promenade Well #2 is wrapping up and we expect it to be done in April. When completed, this well will be one of the highest-producing in the Johnson Utilities system with a capacity of up to 2.6 million gallons per day. The project to bring Magma Well #1 online is also complete and a good example of EPCOR’s efforts to increase water supply in a strategic and cost-effective way. Last year, we tested this non-operational facility and found it a good candidate for improvement. Throughout much of 2019 the well operated with a generator on an as-needed basis. A permanent power upgrade is now complete, and the well can deliver an additional 700 gallons per minute to the Magma subdivisions. We’re bringing the existing but non-operational Bella Vista water plant back online and reconfiguring well water flows to expand capacity in areas that have historically had low pressure during the high-use season. Three automation projects at critical well sites are also in progress. These improvements will give us the ability to communicate immediately and remotely with wells that need to be controlled and monitored. With these and other key water system projects, EPCOR expects the Johnson Utilities system to be well prepared to meet customer water needs during the high-use season of our warmer months.


Wastewater System Improvements and Capital Projects
The project to expand the Pecan Wastewater Treatment Facility on North Gantzel Road is underway. This much-needed capital improvement will add 33% more treatment capacity by upgrading undersized pump stations and other key components of the plant. We expect the work to take 18 months to finish.
We’re holding steady on improvements with air quality around the Section 11 and Pecan plants. It’s been over four months since the last recorded elevated H2S reading at Section 11. In March, we added a new odor control system on the north fence at Section 11 – a similar system has been in place on the south fence since last fall. This new equipment is very effective at odor reduction and offers cost savings over the operational approach used during the last year.

The long-term solution to odor issues across the Johnson system lies in the capital improvement projects that the Arizona Corporation Commission approved last year – namely the expansion of the Pecan plant noted above and replacement of the Section 11 facility with the new Copper Basin plant. During the months that these projects are in progress, we’ll continue to monitor odors throughout the system and respond to concerns as needed.


Rate Case Filed

A new rate case for Johnson Utilities was filed – as required by the Arizona Corporation Commission – in February. EPCOR places a high priority on transparent communications, and we know customers will have more questions about how the rate case might impact them. When it’s safe to do so, we will reschedule the community meeting originally planned for March 26 to answer questions and share information about the rate case with customers and the public. You can also find more details in last month’s customer update.


We’re Committed to Your Safety

In this time of uncertainty, the need for reliable utilities remains unchanged. EPCOR and the Johnson Utilities staff continue our commitment to providing safe, high quality water and wastewater services – and we’re here to help. Please check back on the Johnson Utilities website for news updates and remember that we welcome your questions by phone.


How to Contact Us

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


March 26 Community Meeting Postponed

 EPCOR has made the decision to postpone the community meeting scheduled to take place March 26 at 6 pm at the San Tan Campus of Central Arizona College.

 “Public health is always our first and highest priority and we have been closely following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance as it relates to COVID-19. We believe the right thing to do for the community and those who would be in attendance is to postpone the next Johnson Utilities community update meeting,” explained John Calkins, EPCOR’s Director of Environmental Compliance, which includes EPCOR’s health and safety programs.

 EPCOR will continue to monitor public health advisories and notify customers when a new date for the community meeting is scheduled in the future. EPCOR will continue to provide updates via the Johnson Utilities website and in bills.

 EPCOR was appointed by the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) as interim manager of Johnson Utilities in August 2018. EPCOR’s top priorities are working every day to improve water and wastewater services to Johnson Utilities customers, and to maintaining transparency and open communications as we do so.


A CUSTOMER UPDATE FROM EPCOR

February 17, 2020

CAGRD Annual Adjuster Fee Reset, Decreased
The Central Arizona Groundwater Replenishment District (CAGRD) is a division of the Central Arizona Project that helps water users in Maricopa, Pima and Pinal counties meet their water supply needs. As a Member Service Area of the CAGRD, Johnson Utilities pays the CAGRD an annual amount and assesses an adjustor fee to customers to defray this expense. This fee shows up as a regular, recurring line item in customers’ monthly water bills. The fee is collected, but not kept, by Johnson Utilities and paid to CAGRD.
On February 4, the ACC approved the annual adjuster fee that Johnson Utilities proposed last October. The fee is based on actual water sold within the Johnson Utilities system along with the CAGRD’s current rates – it is not related to EPCOR’s interim management of Johnson Utilities. The new amount will appear in the first customer billing cycle after February 4, and will be effective for the next 12 months. For customers in the Phoenix AMA, the new rate is $0.76 per 1,000 gallons. For customers in the Pinal AMA the rate is $1.07 per 1,000 gallons.
The average Johnson Utilities residential customer using about 5,700 gallons of water every month will see a savings of roughly $6.21 to $8.15 a month, depending on which AMA they live in.

Community Meeting on Rate Case   
As Interim Manager, EPCOR was required by the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) to file this rate case, based on 2019 expenses, on behalf of Johnson Utilities. To do that, we contracted with external rates, regulatory and financial experts to develop and file it by Feb. 14 as required.
This application is not related in any way to EPCOR or its customers.
EPCOR places a high priority on transparent communications, and we know customers will have questions about the Johnson Utilities rate case and how it will impact them. We encourage you to attend our next community meeting March 25 – please note the details below. 

Thursday, March 26, 2020
6 to 7:30 pm
Central Arizona College – San Tan Campus
3736 E. Bella Vista Road, San Tan Valley, AZ  85143

What is in the Rate Case Application?
Rates generate the money it takes to run and maintain a utility – rate changes are looked at when rates aren’t generating enough money to cover the costs, or when they are bringing in more money than needed. For Johnson Utilities, it’s a combination of changes in the cost to run the system and critical infrastructure projects that have been completed to improve your service.
Current water and wastewater rates for Johnson Utilities are based on costs from 2007. The new required rate filing is based on what it costs in 2019 – 12 years later – and requests the revenue difference between the 2007 and 2019 test years to reflect current operating costs. Based on the figures in the application, the potential change to the average monthly residential customer bill could range from $3 to $15 depending on whether a customer receives water service, wastewater service, or both, and how much water they use. These numbers are proposed, not approved – the ACC will fully review the application to determine if there should be a change to rates.   
EPCOR continues to make significant improvements in the Johnson Utilities system, and investment is still needed to secure the system’s long-term health and to provide safe, reliable service now and into the future. If the ACC approves new revenues from this application, they will not be used to pay for the capital investments outlined in a plan the ACC approved last year – the Commission is requiring Johnson Utilities’ ownership to finance those projects.
The ACC normally takes at least a year to review and decide on rate cases, so customer bills won’t see any change to rates before spring 2021 at the earliest. EPCOR is committed to keeping Johnson Utilities customers informed as the process continues.

Water Supply
With the warm, high-use season approaching and the temporary restriction on new service connections lifted, we’re prioritizing expanding water supplies in the Johnson Utilities system. This approach served us well in 2019 and includes these approaches for 2020:   
Optimizing existing supplies through multiple improvements to the water treatment process. The project to install a third ion exchange water treatment vessel at the Main Yard is moving ahead on schedule. We’ve also added flow-pacing technology to give us the ability to treat water more consistently, effectively and efficiently.
Developing new wells. We expect the new Promenade Well #2 to be operating by late spring – this will add 2.6 million gallons of water a day to the system. Other new wells are in various stages of development.
We’re also evaluating existing but non-operational wells to bring them online where we can, an ongoing process to maximize the existing resources in cost-effective ways.

 Hydrant Maintenance and Public Safety  
A safe and reliable water supply is about more than drinking water. Emergency water supplies available through hydrants – and water pressure adequate for them to operate correctly – are critical for community health and safety.
We’ve recently implemented a program of regular hydrant maintenance throughout the Johnson Utilities service territory. We’ve already serviced and made repairs when needed to about 20% of the hydrants and we’re steadily working through the rest. And because of the water-pressure improvements we’ve already made in throughout the system, hydrants will operate better should they be needed for emergency water supplies.    

 America’s Water Infrastructure Act Compliance   
America's Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA), signed into law Oct. 23, 2018, provides for water infrastructure improvements throughout the country. The law requires community drinking water systems serving than 3,300 people to develop or update risk assessments and emergency response plans to protect water infrastructure resources for the public good.
As Interim Manager, EPCOR is developing materials mandated by AWIA for Johnson Utilities and will submit them as required to the Environmental Protection Agency by the end of 2020.

Wastewater   
EPCOR works each month with Johnson Utilities’ contracted environmental compliance staff to ensure we’re meeting regulatory monitoring and reporting requirements at all four of the utility’s wastewater treatment plants. We also meet regularly with Arizona Department of Environmental Quality staff to assess compliance actions and appropriate resolutions as needed.
At the Section 11 facility, there has not been an odor exceedance in over 12 weeks. We’re pleased with this progress but will continue to monitor conditions as closely as ever. We’re also evaluating an experimental technology that may be useful in raising the dissolved oxygen levels – part of effective treatment of wastewater – at the Section 11 aeration basins.   
There were two reportable sanitary sewer overflows in January. Neither were due to problems in the overall system, and were quickly identified, reported and repaired.
Did you know? Influent refers to wastewater flowing into a water reclamation facility, while effluent is the treated water that flows out of it. In Arizona, it is standard industry practice to reuse and recycle fully treated effluent – also known as reclaimed water – for approved uses such as industrial cooling, watering parks and other public spaces, and groundwater recharge. 

Pecan Facility Expansion   
Expanding the Pecan Wastewater Treatment Plant is a priority capital improvement project, and we’re underway with implementing its initial phases as the Arizona Corporation Commission ordered last July. The overall expansion project includes these key components:
Design and construct an upgraded effluent disc filter to increase the plant’s treatment capacity. This is in process.
Design and install new effluent pumps to meet current and future demands for using effluent treated at Pecan. Work on this is beginning.
Replace the existing influent pump station and headworks at the facility. All are in serious disrepair and near the end of their useful life. We expect to begin this work in March.
We appreciate your interest in progress at Johnson Utilities, and the opportunity to serve this community.

How to Contact Us
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   


A CUSTOMER UPDATE FROM EPCOR
January 24, 2020

Measuring Improvements to Customer Service   
Since taking the helm as Interim Manager of Johnson Utilities, we’ve focused on improving not just water and wastewater services, but also the experience customers have in interacting with the utility. 
We are pleased to report that monthly surveys taken during the last year show these efforts are paying off. In December 2018, overall customer service satisfaction was ranked at 54%. A year later, we’ve measured customer service satisfaction at 70%. We’re pleased with these results, but we know there is more work to be done.

Looking Ahead: Planning Study and Capital Improvement Plan  
We are rolling up our sleeves for another year of improved services for Johnson Utilities customers.
In early 2019 we initiated a comprehensive planning study to support projected growth over the next 10 years. That study is now complete – we’re developing a long-term roadmap to meet compliance requirements and we’re tackling capital improvements according to priority.   
Along with this study, we’re focused on the capital improvement plan approved last year by the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC), which lays out infrastructure needs for the next three years. You may have heard that EPCOR has raised concerns that there will not be enough money to fund these projects. The ACC has also ordered Johnson Utilities’ owners to pay for these improvements and they are working to secure funding.
In the meantime, we’ve received ACC approval to adjust hook-up fees for new developments, putting them more in line with the metro Phoenix area and increased available funding for priority projects.

Water Supply, Quality and Pressure
Winter Water Conservation: Spring is just around the corner, and we’d like to remind customers to think conservation as you prepare your yard or garden. The Arizona Department of Water Resources estimates that 70% of residential water use in Arizona occurs outdoors. Check your sprinkler systems for leaks, especially after any cold snaps are over – and remember that xeriscape landscaping is always less water-intensive than grass and non-native trees.
We’ll be installing a third Ion Exchange (IX) unit – a very effective way to remove nitrate from water – at the Main Yard. The new unit will allow us to discontinue using the less-efficient RO system and once again ensure ample water for this year’s summer season.  
We’re also making progress on new well construction that will add significant new supplies of water to the system. Promenade Well #2 is scheduled for startup on temporary power by March, and will be capable of producing 2.6 million gallons per day (MGD) of high-quality water that does not require treatment. The new Bella Vista Farms Well is also in the design phase and will add nearly 3 MGD.  

New Hookups Available to Developers
As a result of our work to increase water supplies and correct system-wide low pressure issues in the last 16 months, the ACC voted unanimously last December to lift the meter management program that had been in place since November 2018. This action restores availability of new water and wastewater hookups that were temporarily on hold to protect services for existing customers. The ACC’s decision went into effect December 11, 2019.

Wastewater System Improvements 
Effluent Management. Recent rainy weather in south-central Arizona has brought extra wastewater into the Johnson Utilities system. As a result of our capital improvements at the Pecan Water Reclamation Facility (WRF) during 2019, we’ve been able to handle this extra water without making emergency releases of treated effluent into the Queen Creek wash as was necessary during the first quarter of last year.

Compliance Improvements. There have been no odor exceedances at the Section 11 plant in nearly three months, and no reportable sanitary sewer overflows for the month of December.


Pecan WRF Expansion. We’ve reported previously that expanding the Pecan WRF is the top priority on the list of capital improvement needs for 2020 – and the design phase of that project is now underway. The expansion will improve the overall treatment process and take the facility from a capacity of 3 MGD to 4 MGD. We estimate the overall project will take about 18 months to complete.  

Rate Case Update
In Arizona, regulated utilities like Johnson Utilities do not set their own rates, but provide information to help the ACC determine costs to provide quality services and maintain and upgrade the systems.
The ACC has instructed EPCOR to file a new rate case, based on an August 2019 test year, for Johnson Utilities. EPCOR’s rates, regulatory and financial professionals are working with third-party experts to develop the application for the February 14, 2020 filing deadline. We expect the ACC’s review and analysis to take at least a year, with a decision no sooner than spring 2021 at the earliest.
Be on the lookout for community meeting details to learn more.  


We Invite Your Comments
As always, we value input from customers, and we appreciate your continued support as we work every day to improve your services and ensure a sound future for Johnson Utilities.

How to Contact Us
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   


​A CUSTOMER UPDATE FROM EPCOR

December 18, 2019

 As we near the end of 2019, the EPCOR and Johnson Utilities team continue to work to provide safe and efficient water and wastewater services. We wish you a safe and happy holiday season.

Seasonal Reminders
Cold snaps are unusual in our state, but it’s always a good idea to know how to protect your home when they do happen. In very cold weather – below about 20 degrees – it’s a good idea to protect your pipes from freezing. Pipes closest to the cold are most susceptible, so disconnect garden hoses and leave a trickle of water running from faucets connected to pipes in exterior walls of your house. If your pipes do freeze, using a hair dryer is a safe way to warm them up.
Please also help us keep your drains clean by avoiding putting fats, oils, and grease (FOG) down your sink or garbage disposal – and remember not to flush anything besides bath tissue down the toilet


New Hookups Available Again to Developers
We’re pleased to announce that the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) voted unanimously on December 10 to lift the meter management program that’s been in place since November 2018. Because EPCOR’s initial analysis of the Johnson Utilities system found the existing infrastructure inadequate to meet current and future demands, the management plan temporarily limited new water and wastewater hookups available to developers to protect services for existing customers. 
Lifting the restrictions this December was the direct result of the work EPCOR has led and carried out during the past year to optimize existing resources, add new water supplies to the system, correct water pressure issues, and more. The ACC’s decision went into effect December 11.

An Update on the Pending Rate Case
A reminder to customers that the ACC has instructed EPCOR to file a new rate case for Johnson Utilities, based on an August 2019 test year (Docket #WS-02987-17-0392). The ACC has extended the filing deadline to February 14, 2020 due to delays in receiving the necessary financial information from Johnson Utilities.
After a rate case is filed, it takes about a year or more for the ACC to review and analyze it. We don’t expect a decision until spring 2021, at the earliest. Once the rate case is filed in early 2020, we’ll schedule a community meeting to walk you through the application and answer questions you might have.

Increasing Water Supply  
We are already looking ahead to 2020 and beyond as we continue work to add water supplies to the Johnson Utilities system. Magma 1 well is online and producing water to help meet demands and increase pressures in the Magma subdivisions. We’re using this well on an as-needed basis with a generator until the permanent electrical work is completed near the end of December.
Crestfield well is one of three existing but non-operational wells we’ve tested in recent months and we’re evaluating the preliminary water quality samples that we’ve taken. We’re also making good progress on design and construction for three new wells – one at Bella Vista Farms and two in the Promenade area.
Lastly, we’ve implemented a fire hydrant maintenance program to support regular preventive maintenance, fix inoperable hydrants and improve overall flows in the water distribution system. 

Continuing Work to Improve Water Pressure
Water pressure remains an important component of our efforts to enhance water supplies. We’re upgrading the electrical equipment at the Ricke water plant that feeds the Magma subdivisions to help sustain pressures when power outages occur. We’re also evaluating a project to replace water lines that are too small to increase supplies to areas that have historically experienced lower flows or pressures.

Water Treatment Efforts
IX System. EPCOR has significantly improved water treatment capacities at Johnson Utilities through two ion exchange (IX) water treatment units installed at the Main Yard this year. Around the end of January 2020, we’ll receive equipment needed to set up a third IX unit to increase the amount of water treated and distributed from this location.
At the same time, we’re equipping Johnson Ranch Well #3 with a nitrate isolation system to improve nitrate concentrations coming to the Main Yard and reduce how much it costs to run the IX system.
Chlorination. National best industry practices call for a small but detectable level of chlorine in all treated tap water that comes from groundwater sources. We’re implementing an automated chlorination system at the Main Yard – expected to be finished by spring 2020 – that will ensure treated water leaving this water treatment site is safe and meets EPA requirements. 

Wastewater System Improvements and Plans  

We’ve completed a series of projects in the last year – described in previous updates – to address odor issues at the Section 11 Water Reclamation Facility. As a result, equipment measuring odor levels has documented a significant reduction in odors at the facility. We’ve also made improvements to the collection system near the Pecan Wastewater Treatment Plant that have significantly decreased odors.  
Looking ahead, we’re focused on developing capital plans for improvements to the Pecan, San Tan and Anthem wastewater treatment plants. A top priority is expanding Pecan – early estimates have this project largely finished by fall 2020.

Job Openings

Currently there are six job vacancies at Johnson Utilities: Construction Manager, Construction Inspector, Water Treatment Foreman, Water Treatment Operator, Instrumentation & Controls Engineer. For application information, please visit the Employment page on the Johnson Utilities website or call the customer care team at the number below.

How to Contact Us
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   


Thank you for the opportunity to provide safe water reliably to communities served by Johnson Utilities.


A CUSTOMER UPDATE FROM EPCOR
November 4, 2019 


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 Improve Your Service   
We’re here to help, whether it’s a question about your bill or you are experiencing problems with your water or wastewater service. Please call the Johnson Utilities customer care team at the number below to report issues or ask questions – and remember that the more information we have, the better. 
We appreciate your cooperation as we continue our work to deliver safe and reliable water and wastewater services to Johnson Utilities customers. 


How to Contact Us
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


​A CUSTOMER UPDATE FROM EPCOR
September 19, 2019

 
Looking Back at the Year  
As of August 31, it’s been a year since EPCOR stepped in as Interim Manager of Johnson Utilities. We’d like to take a look at what’s been done since then toward our initial goals for customers.

One of our first actions as Interim Manager was to undertake a detailed, thorough analysis of the Johnson Utilities system. The resulting report became the foundation for a three-year, roughly $129 million capital improvement plan that the Arizona Corporation Commission approved this past July.  

At the same time, our team went to work with the Johnson Utilities staff on four primary goals for immediate improvements. A year later, we’re tracking very well on each of these goals:

·        Ensuring all drinking water meets or exceeds all drinking water standards. Every month the EPCOR team and Johnson Utilities staff take the necessary steps to make sure water delivered to customers is clean and safe. Legally required annual water quality reports issued in June 2019 reported that all water in the system met or exceeded existing state and federal safety regulations for the test year.

·        Putting proper safeguards in place to prevent future sewer overflows. We’ve reduced the incidence of sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) through direct improvements to individual components in the wastewater system. As of September 12, in the last 60-plus days there were no SSOs reported, and the one before that was caused by contractor error, not discrepancies in the system. This is a significant improvement since last August.

·        Addressing water pressure concerns. Water pressure issues have greatly improved throughout the service territory, largely as a result of increased water supplies and our efforts to hone in on where problems are originating and correcting them as soon as possible. Where there are continuing concerns with low water pressure, we’re identifying causes and strategizing solutions.

·        Ensuring that Johnson Utilities customers get fair and accurate bills. An early step EPCOR took as Interim Manager was auditing the Johnson Utilities billing system and making adjustments to verify that bills are calculated correctly every month. We also provided customer care training and improved back-of-house processes to help reduce customer service wait times.

We’ve also tackled other pressing concerns. Chief among these were water supply for the summer 2019 season, and issues at the Section 11 and Pecan wastewater treatment plants.

Water Supply. By bringing three existing but non-producing wells into production and installing water treatment technologies to make sure the new sources meet safety standards, we were able to meet customer demand for water through the extreme heat of the summer. At the same time, we focused on a multi-pronged strategy for developing future supplies as Johnson Utilities’ customer base grows. 

Wastewater System. We worked on several fronts during the year to repair, replace, and/or optimize wastewater treatment collection lines and treatment facilities, with special attention to the Section 11 and Pecan plants. The plants are now performing at closer to their maximum capacity and air quality around them is significantly improved. As we’ve developed the capital improvement plan for the next three years, expansion, repair and/or replacement of wastewater infrastructure are at the top of the list of priorities. 

It has been rewarding for the EPCOR team and the Johnson Utility employees we work alongside every day to bring about these improvements for Johnson Utilities customers. There’s also a great deal of work still needed for long-term service security for the utility. We’re committed to staying the course, and we thank all customers for your cooperation as we do so.

Recent Updates: Water Supply and Quality 
The new ion exchange (IX) water treatment technology is proving so effective that we’re now working to purchase a third IX tank to increase treatment capacity at the Main Yard. This will allow us to remove the portable reverse osmosis (RO) system at the Johnson Ranch Well #4 site – although RO has been an effective interim treatment solution, the technology is not water-efficient and should be replaced with a permanent IX system.

The process of adding water supplies in recent months has revealed a previously unknown problem: the booster system needed to move water out to customers is inadequate to handle the increased supplies. In some cases the water distribution pipes are too small, causing an adverse effect on water pressure. We’re currently identifying pipes that need replacing.  

We’re making progress developing the Ellsworth, McRae and Crestfield wells – all existing structures that are at various stages of development to bring into full production. We also continue design work on a new well near the Ricke water plant.

Recent Updates: Wastewater System, Section 11 and Pecan Plant
We continue to guard against the potential for sanitary sewer overflows at the Main Yard lift station by operating bypass pumps until replacement pumps can be installed. We’ve ordered the replacement pumps and expect them to arrive this month.  

At the Section 11 plant, work continues on repair and replacement of damaged and non-functioning infrastructure. We’re making good progress in these efforts and are already seeing improvement in the treatment process at this location. The deep zone cleaning project is 75% complete, and there has been a noticeable decrease in odors.
We’re also reporting reduced incidents of odors at the Pecan wastewater treatment plant due to modifications to the collection system near this facility. Going forward, we’re focused on two goals at Pecan: increasing treatment capacity from 3 million gallons per day (gpd) to 4 million gpd, and rebuilding the headworks.

The headworks are a crucial first element in the wastewater treatment process because they remove solids from incoming wastewater. When EPCOR took over operations of Johnson Utilities, the headworks at Pecan were severely deteriorated. Rebuilding this infrastructure will take approximately 13 months and will significantly improve remaining problems with air quality at the plant.

Our Commitment to You   
As we begin our second year as Interim Manager of Johnson Utilities, we want to emphasize again our commitment to transparent communications with customers.
Thank you to the customers who attended our fourth public meeting in early September. Going forward, we want to know about any issues you may have with your water or wastewater service. Please call the Customer Care number below, and give us as many details as you can about where and when the problem happened.

 How to Contact Us
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  
  


A CUSTOMER UPDATE FROM EPCOR

August 27, 2019

Community Open House with EPCOR – Public Welcome  
It’s been almost a year since EPCOR stepped in as Interim Manager of Johnson Utilities. EPCOR will host its next community meeting September 9 to give customers and the public an overview of the work we’ve accomplished in that time as well as our plans going forward. Representatives from EPCOR and Johnson Utilities will be at the meeting to answer questions. We value customer input and encourage all to attend.

Monday, September 9, 2019
6 to 7:30 pm
Central Arizona College – San Tan Campus
3736 E. Bella Vista Road, San Tan Valley, AZ 85143


Update on Capital Improvement Plan
As we reported in July, the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) has approved EPCOR’s proposed three-year capital improvement plan for Johnson Utilities and directed EPCOR to move forward immediately with the work outlined. Here’s an overview of what this decision means for customers.  

The capital improvement plan is a comprehensive roadmap for correcting operational and compliance issues with Johnson Utilities’ water and wastewater systems – and making sure both are equipped to meet demands as the utility’s customer base expands. The plan encompasses 48 water projects and 22 wastewater projects including these major capital improvement priorities:

·        Replace the Section 11 Wastewater Treatment Plant with the new Copper Basin Wastewater Treatment Plant

·        Expand capacity at the Pecan Water Reclamation Plant

·        Expand capacity at the Anthem Water Reclamation Facility

·        Furnish and install a third and possibly a fourth tank for nitrate treatment at the Main Yard

The ACC has directed Johnson Utilities to fund the improvements, and stipulates the projects will be completed by December 2022 regardless of whether EPCOR is still serving as Interim Manager.

Water Supply and Quality  
EPCOR’s focus on water supply in recent months has paid off as the system has kept up with water service demand through the warmest part of the summer.

San Tan Well #1 was equipped with a larger pump and motor on August 1 and a power upgrade to run the new equipment is now complete. With these improvements, production at this well has more than doubled from 420 gallons per minute (gpm) to 980 gpm. This is good news for Regions 1 and 2 and will help us meet our goal of lifting meter restrictions in this area by the end of 2019. 

In Region 3, we’re close to finalizing similar improvements at Magma Well #1. A power upgrade will be finalized this month, enabling the well to produce up to 700 gpm. In the meantime, we’re using an electrical generator to keep this well ready for production as needed. 
We’ve also made progress on design work for the new Ricke Well #2 with a targeted completion in May 2020. We issued a request for proposals to in July and are receiving bids for construction at this wellsite.   

Water Pressure Improvements   
Adding new sources of water supply is helping alleviate low water pressure problems throughout the system. We’re outfitting Morning Sun Farms and the Main Yard with additional pumps to keep water pressure steady during high water demand periods, and are evaluating pipeline projects to increase water supply – and therefore pressure – to areas that have historically recorded low water pressure.

Water Quality   
Ion exchange (IX) technology is widely recognized as a proven and cost-effective method of removing nitrates from water. At the Johnson Utilities Main Yard, the new IX system has now been up and running for several weeks. Installing equipment of this size and level of complexity normally entails some commissioning adjustments. We’ve largely worked through these issues and the system is meeting our expectations for treating groundwater in the region to bring it into water quality compliance.

 Wastewater and Section 11  
The temporary bypass pipeline between Copper Basin 1 and 2 lift stations will be made permanent once the pumps at the Main Yard lift station are operating properly. The pipeline reduces the amount of wastewater entering the Section 11 Wastewater Treatment Plant by diverting some excess flow to the Anthem Water Reclamation Facility. While the current pipeline meets all safety requirements, we’d like to remind customers not to approach or come into contact with the structure as a precaution.  

Customer Care
As always, EPCOR values transparent communications with Johnson Utilities customers. If you experience problems with your service, please help us address them efficiently by reporting issues promptly and in as much detail as possible. We thank you for your continued patience and cooperation as we work to ensure  safe, reliable water and wastewater services throughout the Johnson Utilities territory.  

 How to Contact Us:
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   


IMPORTANT INFORMATION FROM JOHNSON UTILITIES

ELEVATED CONCENTRATION OF HYDROGEN SULFIDE ODORS
SECTION 11 WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANT


 Johnson Utilities and the Pinal County Air Quality Control District meet weekly to review and discuss air quality data measured in 10-minute intervals, routinely collected at a monitoring station located near Johnson Utilities’ Section 11 Wastewater Treatment Plant (Section 11). Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is a natural outcome of the wastewater treatment process and, through proper maintenance and operations, can be effectively controlled. The Pinal County limit for H2S is 0.030 ppb for a 30-minute average.

 Although significant work has been completed under EPCOR’s management to mitigate the longstanding odor issues at Section 11, several very brief and isolated periods of elevated values for H2S have been noted at the Section 11 plant in September and October 2019:

September 5 - Maximum value 0.031 ppb
September 17 - Maximum value 0.041 ppb
September 20 - Maximum value 0.059 ppb

October 7 – Maximum value 0.051 ppb
October 9 – Maximum value 0.046 ppb

October 23 – Maximum value 0.036
October 24 – Maximum value 0.058 

Johnson Utilities, under EPCOR’s supervision, has reviewed these very brief excursions and determined that they were primarily the result of ongoing maintenance and repair efforts. 

WHAT EPCOR HAS DONE TO ADDRESS ODORS AT SECTION 11

Under EPCOR’s management, Johnson Utilities continues to make progress addressing odor issues at the Section 11 wastewater treatment plant, which includes four large aeration basins. Basin #2 was identified as the most immediate concern.

Over a seven-month period, we drained Basin #2, removed a layer of sludge four-to-six feet deep (less than 18 inches deep is considered optimal for the wastewater treatment process), relined the entire basin and replaced the aerators that clean the water. Basin #2 is now filled and operating properly. As we noted last month, recent water quality samples indicate that the mixers in all four basins are undersized. The eight new aerators have been installed and improvements in both aeration performance and reduced odors have already been observed.

Additional Section 11 improvements and upgrades that have been completed to date to, in part, address elevated H2S levels include:

  • Modifications to the Oasis Sunrise lift station to eliminate cascading wastewater, which causes H2S emissions
  • Sealing the headworks to prevent H2S from being released
  • Installation of sanitary sewer covers to prevent H2S from being released
  • Cleaning transmission pipes and repairing and replacing damaged sections
  • Increased H2S monitoring around Section 11 to better identify the sources of H2S emissions and assist in responding to customer complaints
  • Installation of a sodium hypochlorite injection system to pipes that move wastewater from the aeration basins to the wetland  basins
  • Installation of a larger odor control system
  • Repairs to all 43 weir boxes. which help to maintain desired water levels and flows to enhance the overall wastewater treatment process


Along with these improvements, we’re taking steps to enhance the aerobic conditions in the deep zone settling area. We’ve also installed ECOSORB units at Section 11, which use natural, environmentally friendly substances to mitigate odors and turn on automatically when they detect odor emissions at a certain level.

 At EPCOR, safety is our top priority. We want to make sure customers and the public are adequately informed about their Johnson Utilities water and wastewater service, and extra measures and work underway to improve that service and comply with all air quality rules and regulations.

 Please contact Customer Care team 480-987-9870 with any questions.  


​​A CUSTOMER UPDATE FROM EPCOR

July 19, 2019

 Infrastructure Improvement Plan Update
On July 18, the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) reviewed and discussed a recommended $129 million capital improvement plan that prioritizes water and wastewater infrastructure improvements necessary for the Johnson Utilities system over the next three years. Commissioners heard discussion on the need for projects ranging from continuing to fix valves to a full replacement of the Section 11 wastewater plant. After hearing discussion about the recommended plan, ACC Commissioners voted to approve EPCOR to proceed with the recommended projects and plans.

 What happens next? EPCOR will move ahead to implement the plan and keep customers and the Arizona Corporation Commission updated as progress is made.   
 
Water Supply Updates
With the weather forecast calling for continued very high temperatures, we’re paying close attention to all elements of the water system to make sure they’re working properly and that we’re prepared to respond immediately in the case of any emergencies. While we expect the available supply to meet peak demand, all water sources must stay operational at full capacity.

 In early July we upgraded the pump at the Morning Sun Farms #2 well to enable it to increase production by 600 gallons per minute (gpm) for Region 2. An important power upgrade for the new San Tan Well #1 is coming up, which will double production capacity to about 1,000 gpm. What does that mean for you? Over million gallons of additional water every day for Johnson Utilities customers.  

 Johnson Utilities’ entire water supply comes from groundwater, so our primary focus is on development and operation of wells for current and future needs. We’re in various stages of development for several brand new wells, including one north of the Ricke Water Plant and two in the Promenade area. We’re also finalizing our regional groundwater study, which will help us determine where to drill other new wells for long-term water supply security.  

 Improving Water Quality
At the Main Yard, the ion exchange (IX) system is now fully operational and removing nitrates at the level we planned, resulting in an increase in good quality water being produced at this location. We’ve tied a transmission main line into the Main Yard water system and are now working to increase the size of the pipe that runs under a portion of railroad track – all measures that will improve flow conditions into the Main Yard water system. 

We’re also pursuing strategies to combine water treated by the IX system with untreated blended well water for further water quality improvements. We’re also evaluating options for several wells that currently show nitrates above acceptable limits but which have the potential to add valuable new supplies to the system with adequate treatment. 
 
What’s in Your Water? 
As required by state and federal agencies, EPCOR finalized the 2018 water quality reports for the Johnson Utilities service area in June. We are pleased to report that your water meets all current safety regulations.

You can learn more about your water in the detailed water quality report for your neighborhood, available for customers and the public at the URLs below. Or, if you’d like to receive a printed copy by mail, please call Customer Care at 480-987-9870.

2018WaterQualityReport128.johnsonutilities.com
2018WaterQualityReport136.johnsonutilities.com


Wastewater Facility Improvements, Section 11, and Odor Concerns
We’re making progress addressing odor issues at the Section 11 wastewater treatment plant, which includes four large aeration basins. Basin #2 was identified as the most immediate concern.

Over a seven-month period, we drained Basin #2, removed a layer of sludge four-to-six feet deep (less than 18 inches is considered optimal for the wastewater treatment process), relined the entire basin and replaced the aerators that clean the water. Basin #2 is now filled and operating properly. As we noted last month, recent water quality samples indicate that the aerators in all four basins are undersized. The new aerators we ordered have come in and we’re actively installing these in the remaining three basins. Once installed, they will improve both aeration performance and odors.

Along with these improvements, we’re taking steps to enhance the anaerobic conditions in the deep zone settling area. We’ve also installed ECOSORB units at Section 11, which use natural, environmentally friendly substances to mitigate odors and turn on automatically when they detect odor emissions at a certain level.

Expanding the Pecan wastewater treatment plant is a priority capital improvement project and includes a plan to rehab the headworks and influent pump station. As we work through the legal, regulatory and contracting issues related to the Pecan expansion project, we’re simultaneously working to improve air quality connected to this plant by cleaning and rehabbing the collection system, improving turbulent flow conditions, and injecting chlorine at specific lift stations.  

We’d like to remind customers that some of the steps we’re taking to address odor issues throughout the Johnson Utilities system can cause occasional odor emissions. We know that these issues are important to you, and appreciate your ongoing patience as we make these improvements.


Meter Management
As we reported last month, the Arizona Corporation Commission in June 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. It’s our hope that, as a result of our work to secured adequate water supplies for the future, we can recommend lifting the new service connection restrictions in these regions by the end of 2019. With the current conditions in Regions 3 and 4, we were able to lift the water meter restrictions in those two areas of the system.


How You Can Help Us Improve Your Service
 EPCOR is committed to open and transparent communications with customers, and we place a high priority on courteous, knowledgeable customer service.


 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. Our Customer Care and Field Service representatives are ready and equipped to answer your questions and provide a positive experience. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you.


How to Contact Us:
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   


Critical Project to Boost Water Supply Completed
Request to Bonanza, Morning Suns Farm and San Tan Heights Customers
to Limit Non-Essential Water Use Lifted


PHOENIX—July 10, 2019—Yesterday, EPCOR announced that it would be upgrading Morning Sun Farms Well #2 to bring an additional 1 million gallons of water per day into the system and asked all customers in the Bonanza, Morning Sun Farms and San Tan Heights communities to limit non-essential water use on July 9.

The pump upgrade was successfully completed as scheduled, by 9 pm on July 9, and is now fully operational.

Under EPCOR’s management, Johnson Utilities continues to carefully monitor all wells and other facilities to ensure they function as they should through the warmest part of the summer.

How Customers Can Help: While the request for customers to limit non-essential water use is now lifted, July is typically the highest-use month of the year for water in Arizona and we continue to recommend wise water use and recommend that customers continue to monitor their irrigation systems to guard against leaks and unnecessary water loss.

Media Contact

Rebecca Stenholm
Director of Public & Government Affairs
O 623.445.2424
C 602.390.5662
rstenholm@epcor.com


Critical Project to Boost Water Supply on July 9
Bonanza, Morning Suns Farm and San Tan Heights Customers
Asked to Limit Non-Essential Water Use


PHOENIX—July 9, 2019— July is typically the highest-use month of the year for water in Arizona and significant work has been done to put the Johnson Utilities system in position to meet peak demand. These improvements include improvements to San Tan #1 well, which now adds approximately 600 gallons per minute (gpm) to the system and will be capable of producing nearly double that amount once a power upgrade is completed mid-July

Last month we reported that we continue to identify new sources of water. One of those, Morning Sun Farms Well #2, has good production potential and needs a pump upgrade. 

Since temperatures reached triple digits we have carefully monitored all wells and other facilities to ensure they function as they should through the warmest part of the summer. Even with the improvements already completed, Morning Sun Farms Well #2 must be upgraded immediately to sustain water levels for customers during the current extreme heat conditions.

Today – from 5 am to 9 pm – EPCOR will be upgrading Morning Sun Farms Well #2 to bring an additional 1 million gallons of water per day into the system. During this timeframe we ask all customers in the Bonanza, Morning Sun Farms and San Tan Heights communities to limit non-essential water use.

Media Contact

Rebecca Stenholm
Director of Public & Government Affairs
O 623.445.2424
C 602.390.5662
rstenholm@epcor.com


A CUSTOMER UPDATE FROM EPCOR 

June 27, 2019
Third Community Open House with EPCOR – Public Welcome
EPCOR will host a third community meeting July 17 to provide customers and the public an update on our recent work and what we’re planning for the months ahead. We’ll have representatives from EPCOR and Johnson Utilities on hand to answer questions. ​We value your input and encourage all to attend.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019
6 to 7:30 pm
Central Arizona College – San Tan Campus
3736 E. Bella Vista Road, San Tan Valley, AZ 85143

 Water Quality Reports
EPCOR has finalized the 2018 water quality reports for the two districts in the Johnson Utilities service area. These annual reports are required by state and federal agencies for all regulated community water systems and compile testing data on dozens of regulated contaminants.

We are pleased to report that the water in the Johnson Utilities service area meets all current state and federal safety regulations.

Your 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:

  • 2018WaterQualityReport128.johnsonutilities.com
  • 2018WaterQualityReport136.johnsonutilities.com


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 Us

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   


A CUSTOMER UPDATE FROM EPCOR 
June 6, 2019

Progress at Section 11 Wastewater Treatment Plant

The Section 11 Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) continues to be a very high priority for EPCOR’s management direction. We’re committed to transparent communications with customers on the actions we’re taking to improve conditions at the facility.   

The challenge: In a nutshell, the Section 11 plant is not processing and treating wastewater as it was designed to. There are many reasons for this including years of deferred maintenance, non-working mechanical parts and the amount of wastewater coming into the plant.

As a result, some customers are experiencing intermittent odor issues and have been for several years. The Section 11 plant has not been meet permitting requirements for water and air quality for many years and EPCOR is working to address these compliance issues.

In short, because of a lack of maintenance over many years and the amount of wastewater flowing to this facility exceeds the capacity it was built for, it is negatively impacting the plant’s ability to function properly. To address this, EPCOR has put emergency measures in place to reduce the amount of wastewater entering the Section 11 plant.

The long-term solution: The long-term solution to Section 11 is to decommission the plant and replace it with a new one. The new facility, the Copper Basin WWTP, is in the planning phase with an estimated cost of $35 million. Working out the long-term legal, regulatory, and capital processes takes time, and we appreciate customers’ patience. Since taking over as interim manager, the Section 11 plant has remained one of many priorities for EPCOR’s operations, engineering, water quality and environmental compliance experts – the size of this capital project requires owner involvement and ACC staff approval.

What we’re already doing: Most recently, EPCOR secured permission from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) for an above-ground, emergency wastewater pipeline that is now redirecting over 220,000 gallons per day of wastewater from Section 11 to the Anthem Wastewater Reclamation Plant. Please note that while the pipeline meets all safety regulations for this type of structure, we request that the public not approach it. You can learn more about the exact location of the pipeline on www.johnsonutilities.com. 

We’re also repairing or replacing individual parts of the Section 11 infrastructure that have been inoperable for many year so the facility as a whole can operate as it was designed to do. For example, we’re repairing the failed weir effluent structures that will allow proper flow of wastewater through the plant. We’re cleaning and repairing distribution lines and have re-lined Treatment Basin #2. Through these and other efforts, we are seeing improvements in the wastewater treatment process at Section 11.

Finally, we’re making progress on odor control and monitoring. We report odor monitoring results every week to the Pinal County Air Quality Control District and odor mitigation efforts to date include sealing up headworks, regulating water levels, chemical additions to the treatment process increasing contact time with aerators, and more.

Some of these actions to remedy odor issues may result in minor periodic odor emissions. We understand that issues with odor are unpleasant and appreciate customers’ patience as we address them.



Water Supply

Our work over the last seven months to ensure adequate water supplies for this summer is paying off. Through a combination of strategies to increase sources of clean water, we expect supplies to meet demand and that customers will not see a repeat of last summer’s water shortages.

As of the end of May, the San Tan Well #1 is up and running and Magma Well #1 is expected to be running by mid-June. Each well brings an extra 600 gallons per minute (gpm) into the system. An additional power upgrade is in the works that will increase the amount of water San Tan Well #1 can produce to 1,100 gpm – that work is expected to take another 60 days.

We’re also evaluating the Crestfield 2, Ellsworth and McRae wells, and a comprehensive groundwater supply study is in the works to evaluate wells within and outside the existing system for potential new sources of water.


Improved Water Quality and Water Pressure

Our team is making headway installing technologies to improve water quality at various locations. The reverse osmosis (RO) system at Morning Sun Farms started operating in early May, and the new ion exchange (IX) system at the Main Yard started full operation in early June. Another new RO unit is also up and running at Johnson Ranch Well #4 to aid with blending at the Main Yard. It will remain in operation until the IX treatment system is expanded.

We’ve installed a flow meter along with the pressure reducing valve (PRV) from the Magma and Ricky wells, resulting in improvements in water pressure in the Magma and Magic Ranch areas.

EPCOR Receives Approval to Lift New Meter Restriction in Region 4

We’re very pleased to announce that the restriction on new service connections has been removed for Region 4 of the Johnson service territory, which includes the Wild Horse, Crestfield and Magic Ranch areas. On May 21, the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) approved our recommendation. The restriction is still in place for Regions 1 and 2 of the Johnson water system, and we’ll continue to update customers, the development community and the public on as we continue to make more progress. 

Future Rate Case Update

At the ACC’s May 21 Open Meeting the commission also issued a new decision regarding a rate case for Johnson Utilities. You may remember that the rate case originally filed by Johnson Utilities on December 29, 2017, was withdrawn in March 2019.

Instead, the commission has ordered EPCOR to file, as the interim manager for Johnson Utilities, a new rate case by the end of 2019, using a test year that shows what it cost to provide your service no later than from September 1, 2018 to August 31, 2019. This decision replaces the ACC’s decision in March requiring Johnson Utilities, through EPCOR, to file a new full rate case application before May 1, 2020.

 EPCOR’s rates, regulatory and financial experts will be focused on developing this application this fall. Once the application is ready for the ACC’s review, all customers will receive information and invitations to open houses where they can learn more. 


Job Openings 

 EPCOR is recruiting for several positions open at Johnson Utilities in different operational areas. For information on these openings and how to apply, please visit the Employment page on the Johnson Utilities website.  

Thank You


EPCOR values input and questions from Johnson Utilities customers, and we appreciate your continued cooperation as we work every day to improve your water and wastewater service.


How to Contact Us
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     



IMPORTANT INFORMATION PROVIDED BY EPCOR

May 21, 2019

At EPCOR, safety is our top priority. We want to make sure customers and the public are adequately informed about their Johnson Utilities water and wastewater service, and extra measures and work underway to improve that service.


Wastewater flows from the Copper Basin community, and many other neighborhoods served by Johnson Utilities, are collected and treated at the Johnson Utilities Section 11 Wastewater Treatment Plant. Because the amount of wastewater flowing to this facility exceeds the capacity that it was built for and is negatively impacting the plant’s ability to function properly, EPCOR has put emergency measures in place to reduce the amount of wastewater entering the Section 11 plant.

Under EPCOR’s management, Johnson Utilities has installed and is operating an emergency 2,100-foot-long, eight-nch above-ground wastewater pipeline that connects the Copper Basin #2 Lift Station to the Copper Basin #1 Lift Station. This pipeline will redirect approximately 220,500 gallons of wastewater per day to the Anthem at Merrill Ranch Water Reclamation Facility on a daily basis.

 The pipeline begins at the Copper Basin #2 Lift Station, located east of the area of North Main Street and North Gold Lane. From there the emergency pipeline runs west and then southwest for a total of approximately 2,100 feet until it ends at and connects with the Copper Basin #1 Lift Station, which is located near the intersections of East Bagdad Road and North Muscovite Drive. 

 This emergency measure was taken to reduce wastewater flows to the Section 11 Wastewater Treatment Plant due to operational issues.

This pipeline is being operated under a Temporary Emergency Waiver issued by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality on April 29, 2019, Case ID# 180808. Please do not approach this pipeline – contact should be avoided. Please our Customer Care at 480-987-9870 with any questions.  

    

Irrigation Water and the Former Magic Ranch Golf Course 

The owners of the former Magic Ranch golf course property use reclaimed water from the Johnson Utilities Section 11 wastewater treatment plant for irrigation, as they did before EPCOR took over management of Johnson Utilities. Reclaimed water is an important and regulated component of Arizona’s total water supply, and the water being used at Magic Ranch meets all safety requirements. However, as allowable by ADEQ, this water is not to the standard appropriate for playing, drinking and washing. Click here                      for important information about water used for irrigation.



A CUSTOMER UPDATE FROM EPCOR

April 15, 2019

Media Releases Issued Without EPCOR Knowledge/Approvals

 During the past month, some messages have been released to the media and posted on the Johnson Utilities Facebook page without the approval and knowledge of EPCOR.

 We apologize for the confusion this situation has caused. As you might know, the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) last year asked EPCOR to act as interim manager of Johnson Utilities. At the request of the ACC, we’ve communicated with the owners of Johnson Utilities and other interested parties that EPCOR should review and approve all media messages and customer communications in the future. We’re also putting guidelines in place to oversee customer communications for the Johnson Utilities website and billing system.

 While we’re making every effort to ensure that customers receive consistent messaging from Johnson Utilities, there are some limitations on what EPCOR can do legally. We cannot restrict use of the Johnson Utilities logo or letterhead, nor control the Johnson Utilities Facebook page, which is privately managed.

 Above all, we value transparency in our communications with Johnson Utilities, and thank you for your patience as we resolve these recent communications issues.  

 Water Supply

 Ahead of the warm summer season, EPCOR is making progress developing sources of quality water to ensure adequate supplies for customers. We’re completing construction on a pipeline associated with San Tan Well #1 and expect this well to begin supplying water to the system in the next few weeks. The Magma Well #1 has also been tested and approved and should begin operation soon. Well pump testing at several other non-operational wells continues in the hopes of identifying additional sources of quality water for different regions of the system.


We’re also finalizing a project to correct water pressure and quality issues at two wells in the Oasis area. As a result of this work, we expect to be able to lift the meter management restrictions in Region 4 which is the Oasis Magic Ranch area by the end of April.


Lastly, we are working with Queen Creek on a possible water interconnect. The Town sent EPCOR a draft agreement on April 4, 2019 and EPCOR responded with questions on April 9, 2019. 

Water Quality

We’ve completed installation of a water line for the reverse osmosis (RO) treatment system at Morning Sun Farms. The RO unit is currently in testing mode and is ready for operation. In addition, installation of the ion exchange (IX) treatment system at the Main Yard water plant to treat Johnson Ranch Wells #3, #4 and #5 is progressing. The start of operations could be delayed until early May because of materials shortages from the supplier. In the interim, another RO unit is now operational at Johnson Ranch Well #4 – this is a transitional measure to aid with water blending at the Main Yard plant until its IX system is fully operational. 

Wastewater: System-wide Improvements

We’re working through details and approvals needed to proceed with planned capital improvements at that Pecan, San Tan, and Anthem treatment plants. Improvements are also moving ahead at the lift stations throughout the system, which perform the critical function of physically lifting wastewater from customer areas so it can be transported to treatment plants. As part of a system-wide effort to improve functionality at the lift stations, we’ve repaired or are replacing generators at each one.  

Fully Treated Effluent Discharge

 As a result of rainy weather in February, there were two releases of A+ level, fully treated effluent from the Pecan water reclamation plant into the Queen Creek wash that month.

 Expansion of the Pecan plant is a top priority for EPCOR’s capital improvements to the Johnson Utilities system. Given the need for effluent release from the San Tan plant into the Queen Creek wash, we are proactively looking for customers to receive excess effluent until this plant is permanently upgraded. A local farmer has agreed to receive effluent for irrigation. We’ve also begun installing an effluent line under the Hunt Highway and expect this project to be finished by mid-April.

Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSOs)

 There were two sanitary sewer overflows on April 1 and one on April 7. In each incident, our team responded immediately with the necessary repairs and restoration and notified the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality as required. Two of the incidents were caused by issues with contractors on construction projects. The third incident occurred at the Morning Sun Farms lift station and resulted, in part, from floating debris caused by fats, oils and greases being flushed down drains.

 Until long-term capital improvements are made at the wastewater facilities, minimizing SSOs through temporary means remains a top priority. We’re in the final stages of activating remote-monitoring alarm systems at all lift stations, and we’re troubleshooting pumps at the Main Yard lift station. These short-term improvements boost our ability to anticipate SSOs before they happen and respond quickly should one occur.

Section 11 Treatment Plant Optimization

 As we’ve reported previously, replacement of the Section 11 water reclamation plant is a high priority for capital improvements to the overall Johnson system. Construction of the new plant will take up to two years. In the short term, we’re working hard to identify and implement strategies for optimizing operations at the existing plant to handle immediate needs.

 In late February, we learned of a previously unknown line feeding influent (untreated wastewater) into the Section 11 facility. Because the influent was unmetered, we’ve set up measuring procedures to make sure our planning data for this facility accounts for the additional influent. We’ve also begun the design phase for improvements to the Mirage lift station, which will enable additional wastewater flows from Section 11 to be diverted to the Anthem treatment plant. We expect this project to be completed in late 2019.

There were recent (March 27 and April 1), brief exceedances of elevated values for hydrogen sulfide at Section 11 – in lay language, a minor violation of odor limits. We monitor for hydrogen sulfide levels every 10 minutes and then record and share the results weekly with the Pinal County Air Quality Department. We understand that issues with odor are unpleasant and appreciate customer patience as we address them.

CAGRD

The Central Arizona Groundwater Replenishment District (CAGRD) is a division of the Central Arizona Project (CAP) that helps property owners and water providers ensure access to adequate renewable water supplies. Each year Johnson Utilities has to pay a replenishment tax to the CAGRD and distributes this cost through an “adjustor fee” among customers based on location and individual water usage. The money collected is paid to CAGRD; Johnson Utilities does not keep any of this revenue. 

At its March 12-13 meeting, the Arizona Corporation Commission approved Johnson Utilities’ revised CAGRD Adjustor Fees. Depending on where you live, your fee either went up or down. The revised fees are now $1.85 per 1,000 gallons consumed in the Phoenix Active Management Area (a 21% rate decrease) and $2.50 per 1,000 gallons consumed in the Pinal AMA (a 31% increase). This change will appear on customers’ April 2019 water bill. Your water bill specifies which AMA you live in.

 Job Openings 

 There are several positions open at Johnson Utilities, including three foreman positions and 13 others in different   operational areas. For information on these openings and how to apply, please visit the Employment page on the Johnson Utilities website. 

 Thank You


 As always, Johnson Utilities and EPCOR appreciate your patience as we work hard to improve the quality of your water and wastewater services. 

 How to Contact Us
 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   



​Notice: Recent Media Releases Concerning Johnson Utilities
Media Releases Made Without Approval of Interim Manager

PHOENIX – April 5, 2019 – During the past month, certain messages have been released to the media concerning Johnson Utilities without the approval and knowledge of EPCOR.

 EPCOR was appointed by the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) as interim manager of Johnson Utilities in August 2018. In response to a request by the ACC, EPCOR today wishes to affirm that: 


  •   News releases and statements issued by the Johnson family/Hunt Management to the media in March, and         subsequently posted on the Johnson Utilities Facebook page, were made without EPCOR’s knowledge and approval.

  •   EPCOR has communicated to the Johnson family and Hunt Management that all media messages on behalf of Johnson Utilities must be reviewed and approved by EPCOR prior to distribution.

  •   Non-operational communications will not be posted on the Johnson Utilities website or inserted in customer bills. 
  • If George Johnson, Hunt Management, or the Johnson Family wish to communicate on behalf of company ownership, any such communications will not be developed or issued by EPCOR, and will not utilize the Johnson Utilities website or billing system.

  •   EPCOR is currently working to gain full access to the Johnson Utilities website URL. It is EPCOR’s intent to continue to use the website and customer billing system as the primary means of communicating with customers. 

  •   Limitations: It is in the interest of customers to have consistent messaging from Johnson Utilities. While EPCOR will make every effort to oversee all communications distributed to customers, EPCOR cannot legally restrict use of the Johnson Utilities logo or letterhead, and cannot restrict control of the Johnson Utilities Facebook page, which is privately managed by a member of the Johnson family.    


 EPCOR’s top priorities are working every day to improve water and wastewater services to Johnson Utilities customers, and to maintaining transparency and open communications as we do so.


Media Contact
Rebecca Stenholm
Director of Public & Government Affairs
O 623.445.2424
C 602.390.5662
rstenholm@epcor.com

       

A CUSTOMER UPDATE FROM EPCOR


March 18, 2019

 Community Open Recap

 EPCOR held an informational community meeting February 27 at the Central Arizona College San Tan Campus, giving a detailed look at improvements made in the last six months, what’s currently underway, and priorities for the rest of 2019. A video recording of that presentation is available here. After the discussion, EPCOR team members and Johnson Utilities customer service representative were on hand for an informal Q and A session.

 We want to thank Johnson Utilities customers who came out for the meeting. We value your input and questions as we continue our work to improve operations and infrastructure at Johnson Utilities.

 Water Supply Progress

 We’re working hard on several fronts to ensure adequate water supplies heading into the warm part of the year.

 We’re testing the pumps at several wells within the system that aren’t currently in service, and we expect to have one of these – San Tan Well #1 – ready to begin production by the end of March. The water at the well has been tested, the necessary pump will soon be in place, and we’re in the final stages of securing access easements from the San Tan Heights Homeowners Association. We’re also coordinating with Fulton Homes to complete two wells and additional storage in the Promenade development by May 2020.

While we’re talking about water supply, we’d like to remind customers that water conservation is always a good idea in a dry state like Arizona.

Water Quality

 We’ve finished installing the water line for the reverse osmosis (RO) treatment system at Morning Sun Farms. The RO unit is on site and will be operational by the end of March. An RO unit is also operational at Johnson Ranch. Work is also underway to install the ion exchange (IX) treatment system that will treat three wells that deliver water to the Main Yard water treatment plant.

 Electrical System Improvements

 We’ve begun an overhaul of the electrical panels throughout the Johnson system to avoid electrical-related service interruptions. This is a three-year project to upgrade all panels and repair those that need it, with current priorities at the Magma and Main Yard lift stations.

Water Pressure

 Since last fall we’ve made considerable progress correcting short-term water pressure concerns. We continue to work on these immediate issues while developing long-term water pressure solutions.  

 In the portion of the system between the Magma and Ricky well sites and Oasis subdivision, we’ve installed a pressure-reducing valve in order to address water quality and pressure issues for Oasis customers. This work should be finished by the end of March, and we expect that it will allow us to remove meter management restrictions in Region 4.

 If you’re experiencing water pressure issues, we’d like to hear from you. Please share concerns with Johnson Utilities’ customer care along with your address, so we can find and resolve these more quickly.

 Wastewater


In our ongoing work to improve the Johnson Utilities wastewater system as a whole, we’re looking at both treatment plants and the network of collection lines that collect and transport wastewater to them.

A key focus is “lift stations” within the collection lines that mechanically raise wastewater to make it flow correctly. At each of the 33 stations within the Johnson system, we’ve either repaired or are replacing generators. Another top priority continues to be mitigating the potential for sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) at the Main Yard lift station. We recently made an important improvement to this station by replacing the permanent pumps.

We’re also making headway in our assessment of ways to optimize treatment processes at the Section 11 water treatment plant. These improvements are necessary in the short run until a new plant is developed under the three-year capital improvement plan. As part of this project, we’re designing upgrades to the Mirage lift station which will enable additional flow to be diverted from Section 11 to the Anthem wastewater treatment plant. We expect this project to be finished late this year.

 Rate Case Update

 At the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) Open Meeting on March 13, the ACC approved Johnson Utilities’ request to withdraw the rate application that was filed in December 2017. The ACC also ordered Johnson, through EPCOR, to file a new full rate case application by May 1, 2020. This deferred scheduling will result in a more accurate rate review that accounts for capital expenditures and improvements to the Johnson system in the interim. 

 ACC Approves Annual CAGRD Adjuster Fee


The Central Arizona Groundwater Replenishment District (CAGRD) is a division of the Central Arizona Project that helps water users in Maricopa, Pima and Pinal counties meet their water supply needs. As a  Member Service Area of the CAGRD, Johnson Utilities pays the CAGRD an annual invoice and assesses a CAGRD adjuster fee to customers to defray this expense. This fee shows up as a regular, recurring line item in customers’ monthly water bills. The fee assessed to customers is approved by the ACC through a proposal filed each October.


 On March 12, the ACC approved the annual adjuster fee that Johnson Utilities proposed last October. The fee is based on actual water use within the Johnson Utilities system along with the CAGRD’s current rates, and is not related to EPCOR’s interim management of Johnson Utilities. The new fee will appear in the first customer billing cycle after today, and will be effective for the next 12 months. Depending on where you live within the Johnson service territory, this adjustment may show up as a slight increase or decrease in the CAGRD line item on your water bill.

 The CAGRD can be complicated to understand, but plays a critical role in assuring a guaranteed water supply for water users in Maricopa, Pima, and Pinal counties. For more information about how the CAGRD works, please visit this page on the Central Arizona Project website.

Customer Care


We’ve completed a customer satisfaction survey and are analyzing results to identify new areas for improvement in customer service. We’re streamlining the meter reading and billing schedules for better efficiency, and developing tools to enhance customer communications – including a more timely way to notify customers of planned service outages.


Thank you again to those who attended our February update meeting. We take our responsibility as interim manager of Johnson Utilities seriously, and remain committed to the goal of ensuring clean, reliable, safe service for customers.

 Questions? Contact Us

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 



 

Release of Fully Treated A+ Effluent from the Johnson Utilities Pecan Treatment Plant
February 20, 2019

This week, EPCOR notified the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) that because onsite basins are full and current users don’t have the capacity to take additional water during wet weather conditions, some of the fully treated effluent would need to be again discharged from the Johnson Utilities Pecan Treatment Plant to Queen Creek wash beginning the evening of Wednesday, February 20.

The discharge is necessary due to recent and upcoming rainy weather in the area, causing higher-than-usual effluent levels. Permit-required water sampling completed before the water was discharged confirmed that there is no adverse impact to public or environmental health, that the fully treated water meets public health requirements for A+ treated effluent, and is consistent with water routinely used by golf courses and other public areas.

The Johnson Utilities Pecan treatment plant collects and treats wastewater to an A+ effluent standard consistent with irrigation water used across Arizona. Once treated, the A+ effluent water is delivered to users or recharged using onsite recharge and basins.

An October 2018 engineering analysis concluded that the Pecan wastewater treatment facility is in critical need of infrastructure improvements and is at, and at times over, capacity. We have been working since last fall to find additional uses for the extra fully treated effluent this plant produces and are in the process of submitting a discharge permit application to ADEQ for this plant. EPCOR also completed construction of an additional one-mile effluent line on January 25 to allow access to additional farm land for effluent disposal.

We remain committed to the communities of Florence, Queen Creek and San Tan Valley and appreciate their patience as we continue to focus on improving the Johnson Utilities systems. 



A CUSTOMER UPDATE FROM EPCOR

February 12, 2019

Community Open House with EPCOR – Public Welcome


EPCOR is committed to keeping customers up to date as we improve operations and infrastructure in the Johnson Utilities system, and to answer your questions about what’s coming next. We’re hosting a community open house on February 27 where we’ll cover these issues in depth for customers and the public. We hope you’ll join us. 

 Wednesday, February 27, 2019
6 to 7:30 pm
Central Arizona College – San Tan Campus
3736 E. Bella Vista Road, San Tan Valley, AZ 85143


Infrastructure Improvement Plan


EPCOR has developed a three-year plan to address long-term infrastructure needs in the Johnson Utilities service area, which we submitted to the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) in December. The plan includes multiple individual projects that together will ensure both water and wastewater systems are equipped to provide reliable and safe service that’s fully compliant with industry standards.
We want to make sure these improvements are up and running as soon as possible. Toward that end, we’re now developing cost estimates and schedules, and prioritizing the projects that will begin in 2019. Key projects that will be started and/or completed in 2019 include:

         Equipping San Tan Well #1 and tying it into the distribution system

·         Installing ion exchange treatment at the Main Yard along Hunt Highway

·         Installing reverse osmosis treatment at Morning Sun Farms

·         Rebuilding and expanding the Pecan Water Treatment Plant headworks to improve operations and reduce odor and overflow issues

 
Water Quality and Supply  

 We’re moving ahead quickly to install ion exchange (IX) devices at targeted drinking water wells that have been inoperable because of high nitrate levels. IX technology is designed to remove excess nitrates and restore drinking water to safe standards with little to no water wasted in the treatment process. Moving these wells into production is part of our overall strategy to ensure an adequate supply of clean drinking water to Johnson Utilities customers during the summer high-use season.   
Additionally, we’re checking off the operational and regulatory tasks needed to bring San Tan Well #1 online. The pump at the well has been tested successfully and we’re moving ahead with design. We appreciate the help of the San Tan Heights Homeowners Association as we get this high-quality water source functioning.

 Hunt Highway Project Completed

Last fall, EPCOR cooperated with Pinal County to ensure that the Hunt Highway widening project would not cause service interruptions to Johnson Utilities customers, and to help prevent delays to this important transportation project. We moved the sewer main line that paralleled the road, and installed a temporary line that provided continuous service while the permanent line was relocated.

We’re pleased to report that our part of this project is now finished. The new, permanent main line is in place and the temporary line has been removed. The county expects the highway widening project itself to be completed by May.

Customer Care

We’ve recently upgraded Johnson Utilities’ customer care phone service. Now when customers call after regular business hours to report emergency outages or other issues, they’ll speak to a live person trained to take and dispatch service calls. This improvement will help the customer care team respond more quickly to service requests and enhance the overall customer experience. 

Rate Case Update

 In December 2017, prior to EPCOR’s appointment as interim manager, Johnson Utilities filed a formal application with the ACC to increase rates for water and wastewater services. The application (or “rate case”) was on hold through 2018 as EPCOR took over management of the company.

Johnson Utilities recently requested a withdrawal of the formal application. EPCOR supports this request, as much of the information in that application is outdated and a more accurate accounting of system-wide capital expenses and finances is needed. ACC staff also supports the request. A recommended order on the request will be issued by the Administrative Law Judge presiding over the case for ACC consideration – if Johnson Utilities’ request is approved, we expect a new filing to happen within the next 18 months, and no later than May 2020.

How to Contact Us

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   



A CUSTOMER UPDATE FROM EPCOR

January 23, 2019

 Looking Ahead to Summer Water Needs

 The warm weather will be here before we know it, and the EPCOR team is focused on incremental solutions that will add up to increased capacity to meet higher water demand this summer.  
Last fall, EPCOR’s assessment of the Johnson water supply system located a capacity deficit in densely populated portions of the service area near Queen Creek. We’ve identified solutions that will bring in additional water supply capacity, and we’re also in active conversations with the Town of Queen Creek to possibly construct an interconnection between the Johnson and Queen Creek water systems. We look forward to seeing the Town’s response to our proposed letter of intent.
We’re also pressing ahead on efforts to bring back into service those drinking water (potable) wells that have been out of commission due to high nitrate levels. Throughout December and January, the team made progress on the design, location, and installation of ion exchange (IX) technology that will remove nitrates from water at these wells. Reverse osmosis (RO) is another technology for removing nitrates from water, and we’ve set up a temporary RO unit to treat well water at Johnson’s Morning Sun Farms plant as needed in the coming months.

 SanTan Well #1 and Your Water Supply

 SanTan Well #1 is one of the drinking water wells we’re working to bring online. It’s an existing, but currently unused, resource in the Johnson Utilities system. This is a source of quality water that can be made operational relatively quickly, and we are moving forward with the access agreements and other tasks needed to bring this well online.

 The first part of the process is to test the water in the well to make sure it meets drinking water requirements. Our team began that task on Monday, January 21, and you’ll see work happening at the site along Hunt Highway. Testing the pump requires releasing some water into an adjacent greenbelt/stormwater retention area.


If the tests go well, we’ll prepare to bring the well online and begin serving the community by March as water usage starts to pick up again for summer.

 Pecan Treated Effluent Release


The Johnson Utilities Pecan treatment plant collects and treats wastewater to an A+ effluent standard fully compliant with public health requirements for recycled water – a common source of irrigation for golf courses, parks, farms, and similar uses. Once the treatment process is completed, the treated effluent (recycled water) is delivered to users or recharged using onsite recharge and basins.

The Pecan wastewater treatment headworks, the first stage of the treatment process, is in critical need of infrastructure improvements and is scheduled to begin design this year.

Due to the recent rainy weather, more than 15 million gallons of fully treated effluent had to be released into the Queen Creek wash between January 9 and 15. Before the water was released, samples were taken to ensure that it met A+ treated effluent standards.

 EPCOR will be continuing the controlled release of recycled water from the Pecan treatment plant to the Queen Creek wash as long as rainy weather pushes the storage basins to capacity.

 The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) has confirmed that there has been no threat to the Johnson Utilities drinking water supply, and no untreated wastewater has been released.

 Until the capacity issue is resolved – and rainy weather subsides – we will continue to use this safe and effective means of discharging excess effluent as needed.

 Enhancing Operations

As part of EPCOR’s ongoing efforts to improve wastewater operations, we’ve identified a need for more supervisory staff in wastewater collections and wastewater treatment operations. Two of these positions have been filled, and active recruitment is underway for three more.  
Additionally, EPCOR is working with the Johnson Utilities team to enhance operational structure and efficiency, starting with the most pressing concerns first. In recent weeks we’ve focused on optimizing accounting procedures as well as fair pay, vacation time, and working conditions for employees – one more way we’re working to boost the quality of the Johnson organization as a whole. 

Section 11 Plant

Replacing the Section 11 wastewater treatment facility is a top priority in EPCOR’s three-year capital expansion plan, recently submitted to the Arizona Corporation Commission. Design and permitting for the plant is expected to begin in 2019 to bring the new plant online in 2021.

 In the interim, we’re continuing to address immediate needs at the Section 11 facility. Efforts are underway to divert flow away from the plant, and we’re exploring ways of optimizing treatment onsite in the short term. Today the Section 11 plant is closer to operating standards for the interim period while a replacement plant is being constructed. This represents good progress on an important aspect of EPCOR’s work with Johnson Utilities.

 An Update on Sanitary Sewer Overflows

Two sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs) occurred on December 22 and 23. These incidents were small and at no time was there a threat to human health or the environment. EPCOR reported these incidents to ADEQ promptly, and we’ve installed alarm systems to immediately notify the operations team when a lift station is at capacity or not working correctly.

It’s probably no coincidence that the SSOs occurred around the holidays when people often use more water, cook more, and generally put added strain on their drains and pipes. Customers can do a lot to prevent sewer overflows. Please remember not to put any fats, oils or grease (“FOG”) down your sink drains, and never flush any products other than toilet paper.   

How to Contact Us

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 


 

 A CUSTOMER UPDATE FROM EPCOR

January 12, 2019 (Updated January 16, 2019)


Release of Fully Treated A+ Effluent from the Johnson Utilities Pecan Treatment Plant

The Johnson Utilities Pecan treatment plant collects and treats wastewater to an A+ effluent standard consistent with irrigation water used by golf courses, public parks and other similar uses across Arizona. Once the treatment process is completed, the A+ effluent water is delivered to users or recharged using onsite recharge and basins.


As EPCOR has previously stated and as has been confirmed by the October 2018 engineering analysis, the Pecan wastewater treatment facility is in critical need of infrastructure improvements and is at and, at times, over capacity. We have been working since last fall to find additional uses for the extra fully treated effluent this plant produces, and have notified ADEQ that we are in the process of submitting a discharge permit application for this plant.

Earlier this week, EPCOR notified ADEQ that because the onsite basins were full and the current users didn’t have any additional capacity, we would need to discharge some of the effluent to Queen Creek wash beginning on Wednesday, January 9. Permit-required water sampling confirmed that there was no adverse impact to public or environmental health.

We appreciate ADEQ’s partnership as we continue to improve the Johnson Utilities systems, and we also appreciate their responsibility to protect public health. However, it is important to note that the effluent was tested prior to ADEQ’s January 11, 2019 news release and there is no cause for concern. This fully treated water is the same water that is routinely used by golf courses and other public areas. In addition, the release stated that this discharge may have been related to increased flows from winter visitors. This discharge of fully treated effluent is the result of recent rains that caused higher than usual effluent levels.

We want to reiterate, again, our full commitment to the Johnson Utilities systems and the communities of Florence, Queen Creek and San Tan Valley. 

A CUSTOMER UPDATE FROM EPCOR


December 20, 2018


From all of us at the EPCOR and Johnson Utilities team, we wish you a safe and happy holiday season. Of course, we’ll continue to work through the holiday season to keep your water and wastewater service running efficiently.

Don’t Forget FOG!
The holidays usually mean a lot of cooking. Don’t forget to protect your plumbing and help prevent drain clogs and sewer backups.
Wrap and toss. Fats, oils, and grease (FOG) can easily solidify and clog pipes. Instead of putting them down your sink or garbage disposal, wrap them and toss them in the trash.
Watch what you flush. Don’t flush anything but toilet paper down the toilet. Even products marked “flushable” can cause major backups requiring expensive repairs.

Protect Your Pipes from Cold Snaps
In very cold weather, it’s a good idea to take precautions to protect your pipes from freezing. Pipes closest to the cold are most susceptible so you should insulate any exterior water pipes. If your pipes do freeze, using a hair dryer is a safe way to warm them up.


Extra Support for Your Wastewater Service During the Holiday Season
Preventing sewer backups continues to be a priority. Because the holidays can put a little extra pressure on wastewater systems, since Thanksgiving we’ve been sending extra maintenance personnel to the main wastewater station to prevent problems by managing excess wastewater flow. You might see crew trucks in front of the Johnson Utilities facility on Hunt Highway – they’re working hard for you!

 
Backflow Devices and Why they’re Now Required for Some Customers
“Backflow devices” are now required for certain new meters connected to the Johnson Utilities system. Here’s what you need to know:
Federal, state and local regulations require potable (drinking) water leaving a treatment plant to meet standards for quality and safety. Once this water leaves a plant, it can become contaminated if it comes in contact, or “cross connects,” with non-potable liquid, solids or gas that could enter the treated drinking water distribution system.
Backflow devices are barriers that keep non-potable substances out of the drinking water system. To protect public health, the Arizona Administrative Code authorizes utilities to require customers to install approved backflow devices when there is a risk of cross connection. We’ve identified customers who should already have backflow devices installed, but do not. In addition, a backflow device is now required for any new meter connected to the system where there is a risk of cross connection.
The State of Arizona also requires backflow devices to be properly maintained and tested annually, and authorizes utilities to monitor this customer responsibility. All customers affected by this change will receive a letter with clear instructions on what to do to comply with these requirements.   

What’s Happening at Pecan?
Some customers have reported odors in the vicinity of the Pecan wastewater treatment plant. The operations team located a malfunctioning motor at the plant which required a “wet well” to be open temporarily, likely causing some of these issues. That malfunction has been corrected, and the wet well is now closed. The team has also identified longer-term needs at the Pecan plant, which will be part of the improvements expected to take place in 2019.  

Limitations on New Meters and Ensuring Compliance

On November 7, the Arizona Corporation Commission (the state entity responsible for regulating utilities) ordered a partial moratorium on new service connections in the Johnson Utilities system, allowing for a total of 28 new connections per month. These temporary limitations have been recommended to protect service for existing customers, as well as the safety of the system in the near term. There are limited exceptions, primarily for new developments where additional hook-ups will not adversely impact current customers. We are carefully monitoring and evaluating all new requests to stay within these guidelines.

Creating Management Areas and Improving System Reliability
As part of overall efforts to enhance service and operations at Johnson Utilities, we have divided the total service territory into a set of distinct management areas. This will help improve operations, manage and plan for water resources, and implement infrastructure improvements. This change also impacts where new meters are allowed.
We’re also improving the system’s reliability by identifying and procuring an adequate supply of critical spare pumps, motors, and other parts. This effort will allow for faster responses in case of equipment malfunctions.  

Upgrading Customer Service
The customer care team is working to improve phone services so that customers can report emergency outages, sewer overflows, or other issues to a live representative after regular business hours. This upgrade is expected to be in place early in the new year.
Additionally, meter-reading dates are being revised to move from a two-route to a six-route schedule, increasing efficiency and helping to lower customer service wait times and frustrations. Per state regulations, meters are read every 25 to 35 days. If the meter-read date changes, billing and due dates for bills adjust accordingly.
As we make this timing change, your next bill might be lower or higher based on the new date your meter is read. After that, your bill will be much the same as before. Please be assured that your rates are not changing, and you are not paying more for your service.

Three-Year Capital Program Presented to the Arizona Corporation Commission
On December 12, EPCOR submitted a three-year capital plan to the Arizona Corporation Commission for roughly $102 million in improvements to the Johnson Utilities infrastructure. The plan includes significant improvements for both water and wastewater systems that will equip them to provide safe, reliable service in line with industry standards.
Most of the work will be done in 2019 and 2020 to realize improvements as quickly as possible. Major projects proposed for 2019 include starting work on the new Copper Basin wastewater treatment facility (which will ultimately replace the Section 11 plant), and making critical improvements at lift stations, the Pecan wastewater treatment facility, and the Bella Vista, Promenade and Morning Suns Farms water treatment facilities.

How to Contact Us
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   



            A CUSTOMER UPDATE FROM EPCOR

December 10, 2018

As Interim Manager of Johnson Utilities, EPCOR is working hard to address issues that matter most to customers. We’re providing regular updates here and on www.johnsonutilities.com on improvements underway.

Help Us Protect Your Wastewater System
The holidays are here, and there’s a good chance you’re cooking more than usual or entertaining houseguests. Now is a smart time to review tips for preventing drain clogs and sewer backups, many of which can start at home.
Avoid putting fats, oils, and grease (FOG) down your sink or garbage disposal. Once inside your system, these materials can easily solidify and clog pipes.
Skip flushing anything other than bath tissue down the toilet. This includes paper towels, feminine supplies, baby wipes, dental floss, etc. Even products marked “flushable” can cause major backups requiring expensive repairs.

What We’re Doing to Clean and Maintain Your Wastewater System

Sewer backups are a priority and we work immediately to address issues when a customer calls. But we’re also laser focused on getting to the root of the problem and putting long-term solutions in place. We’re fixing valves that are broken or not in the correct position and we’re actively cleaning out neighborhood mains where grease and other debris, like flushable wipes and towels, have blocked pipes.
Wastewater systems are gravity fed and need a little help from lift stations to move things along when elevation changes or a lot of waste is flowing through the pipe. In some areas, too many pipes send waste to one lift station. To prevent overflows, we added additional measures to keep the pumps working. This is especially important when we’re cooking holiday meals and entertaining friends and family.
What about Section 11? More wastewater is being sent to the Section 11 wastewater treatment plant than it can handle, so we’re focused on short-term solutions to relieve the strain, like diverting some flow to other treatment facilities and making temporary changes that could increase the plant’s efficiency. The long-term solution continues to be replacing Section 11 with a new, mechanical treatment facility.

The Hunt Highway Widening Project and Our Role

There’s lots of activity happening along Hunt Highway where the County is widening this important stretch of transportation infrastructure. We’re doing our part to help, by moving the existing sewer main so that it is buried in the right location and deep enough to protect it. A temporary pipeline was installed along the road to make sure the project didn’t interrupt your service while the permanent line was being relocated. Our work on the sewer line relocation should be complete by the end of the year.

How We’re Managing New Meter Requests
A recent analysis of Johnson Utilities’ infrastructure found that the system needs substantial improvements before it can adequately meet current and future building development in the service territory. For this reason, the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) voted on November 7 to temporarily limit the number of water and wastewater hookups granted to developers to 28 per month. The limit is sometimes being referred to as a “partial moratorium”, or a “stay”.
Different areas within the Johnson Utilities system have different water and sewer capacities, and the ACC order specifically directs how new meter requests should be treated, depending on where the site requested is located. The area served by the Section 11 wastewater plant, for example, cannot accommodate new sewer hookups until an infrastructure solution is in place, while this same area (area #3) has water infrastructure that is able to accommodate new growth.
Since the ACC decision that gave direction on how new meter requests should be treated, we’ve worked directly with each homebuilder to ensure that the ACC’s directions on new meter hookups are followed. We carefully review every new meter request and have developed an application process and a set of criteria, including geographic verification by the developer that the site requested falls within an area approved by the November 7 ACC order, that each new meter applicant must complete before we approved and proceed with any new meter hookup.
EPCOR will continue working on improvements and will request areas to be taken off the moratorium as sufficient infrastructure is put in place. We expect the ACC to revisit the issue again in six months – roughly May 2019. In the meantime, we’re adhering closely to the limited number of new meters allowed per month.

Keeping Your Water Safe
Certain Johnson Utilities drinking water (potable) wells have been unavailable for use, due to high nitrate levels. These wells are important and we’ve been working on solutions that will bring them back into service, ensuring your water is safe and it’s there in time for the hot summer months.
Nitrate treatment: We’re designing an Ion Exchange unit for Johnson Ranch wells #4 and #5, which will remove nitrates from the water. We expect this solution to be in service by April 2019. We’re developing a similar solution for Morning Suns Farm.
RO systems: We’re also redeploying two trailer-mounted RO systems, which will allow high-nitrate wells to be used and blended as necessary until a permanent solution can be established. 

 Water Pressure Progress
Making Progress: We’re installing VFD motor controllers, air relief valves where none previously existed, and conducting “valve sweeps” to verify that valves controlling the flow of water are operating correctly. We also continue to use pressure loggers to get to more detail on water-flow patterns and issues – this data helps us make immediate operating system adjustments in place. The longer-term solution continues to include establishing “pressure zones” to manage water pressure according to consumer demand – this will be part of the longer-term capital plan.
Remember: If you have an issue, call customer service at 480-987-9870. We need as much information as possible to put pressure loggers in the right locations, record the details for a week or two, and better pinpoint the issue and put a solution in place.

Discussions Continue on a Possible Interconnect with Queen Creek
Summer isn’t that far away, and that’s when demand for water hits a high point. We continue to work with the Town of Queen Creek on a possible interconnect that would help meet the highest water demand days for next summer. Together we’ve agreed on a location where the two systems could be interconnected and how much water Queen Creek could send to the Johnson Utilities system if needed. There are still some details to be worked through, and we appreciate the Town’s partnership.

Contact Us
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   


A CUSTOMER UPDATE FROM EPCOR



October 18, 2018

It’s been 48 days since EPCOR assumed management and operations of Johnson Utilities, and the team has moved quickly to come up to speed and to address immediate priorities, focusing on water quality and pressure, preventing sewer overflows, and customer service and billing accuracy.

There’s much to be done, and we appreciate your continued patience as we stay focused on the temporary and permanent changes that will improve your water and wastewater service.

Customer Service and Billing

Communications, training and billing accuracy are priorities. Customer service agents are undergoing comprehensive training to be able to provide you with helpful information and a higher level of service.

We’ve also completed a detailed audit of the Johnson Utilities billing system, verifying that bills are calculated correctly according to current rates for service. We’ll continue to verify accuracy each month.

We’ve also heard your concerns about needing information about things that might impact your service. Customers aren’t always at home when the team stops by on a service call or to notify you of a planned outage. Now when a team member stops by they will leave a door hanger to let you know that we were there and the reason for our visit. We’re also working on helpful tips and tools for customers, like how to troubleshoot for leaks. We’ll be updating the website as these are developed – continue to go to www.johnsonutilities.com for updates.

Tax Refunds for Customers

In Decision #76889, the Arizona Corporate Commission (ACC) approved a reduction to rates and a one-time credit to reflect the new tax laws that went into effect in December 2017, and to remove other income taxes from rates. The rate reduction will become effective as of the October billing cycle that starts on the 25th, and the one-time credit will appear on your October bill only. A detailed explanation will arrive in your October bill and will be available on www.johnsonutilities.com.

Engineering Review and Analysis

Separate from EPCOR’s role as Interim Manager, EPCOR was contracted to complete an Engineering Review and Analysis for the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC). A draft of the study, a comprehensive evaluation of the assets and needs of the water and wastewater systems and facilities that provide your service, was provided to the ACC on October 5 and docketed by the ACC on October 10.

This report will be the basis of an infrastructure improvement plan necessary to address issues affecting your service. The report identified three priority areas, a combined $177 million in capital investment. Priority 1 projects – the most critical water and wastewater work – represent $98 million of that total.

Included in that assessment is a recommendation that the Section 11 wastewater plant be replaced with a new, larger plant with the right technology and design to provide the level of service that the Johnson Utilities service area needs. The Section 11 wastewater plant that collects and treats wastewater is currently operating at or above the capacity it was designed to handle. Building a plant will take time – several years. In the meantime, we’re focused on immediate improvements that can be made to protect your service, like re-directing wastewater flows to other treatment facilities.

Water Pressure Concerns

EPCOR’s team remains focused on water pressure concerns, prioritizing those areas and calls where water pressure dips below 20 psi.

Here’s what we’re doing: The operations team is investigating calls as they come in to determine where the issues are originating. In addition to identifying booster stations that aren’t properly sized to accommodate current water demand, we’ve found closed or broken valves that are meant control the flow of water. To help us get to the root of the issue, we’re using pressure loggers to get more detail on the water flow patterns. Part of the long-term solution will be to establish zones to manage pressure and infrastructure improvements – right now we’re making immediate repairs where we can.

How you can help: If your water pressure is low, call customer service at 480-987-9870. We need as much information as possible – location, the time of the issue, description of the pressure. With that information, we can move the pressure loggers to the right locations, record the pressure for a week or two, and better pinpoint the issue and how to resolve it.

Preventing Against Sewer Overflows

Sanitary sewer overflows remain a critical priority. The engineering evaluation identified short- and long-term priorities for the system, and our operations team is working on immediate changes that can be made. For example, some lift stations receive wastewater from multiple areas, more than they were designed to handle. Redirecting some of this wastewater to other treatment facilities is one of the solutions we’re looking at.

Until permanent infrastructure improvements can be put in place, our operations, engineering, water quality and environmental compliance experts are closely monitoring the wastewater operations.

Hiring and Training

EPCOR leaders, from operations and customer service to rates and communications, are working directly with Johnson Utilities team members to provide your service. This includes hands-on training and hiring qualified operators to provide your service. EPCOR is hiring the following positions for Johnson Utilities:

Water Operator Foreman
Water Distribution Foreman
Wastewater Plant Foreman
Wastewater Collection Foreman

Visit www.johnsonutilities.com for job descriptions and how to apply.

How to Contact Us

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   September 19, 2018




A CUSTOMER UPDATE FROM EPCOR



Johnson Utilities transferred its management and operations to EPCOR USA on August 31, and our team has been working quickly to come up to speed on the operations and what needs to be done.

We recognize that the past months have been challenging. We’re focused on the road ahead and the critical work that needs to be done to address operational and infrastructure issues and to ensure clean, safe, reliable service. We do not take this responsibility lightly.

First and foremost, EPCOR is committed to being a good neighbor, a community partner, a quality employer and provider of clean drinking water that meets or exceeds all quality standards. For Johnson Utilities customers, our immediate priorities are: 

  • Ensuring all drinking water meets or exceeds all drinking water standards.
  • Putting proper safeguards in place to prevent future sewer overflows.
  • Addressing water pressure concerns.
  • Ensuring that Johnson Utilities customers get fair and accurate bills.   


We have the operational, engineering and customer service expertise to make a difference. Team members from EPCOR’s Operations, Engineering, Environmental Compliance, Human Resources, Health & Safety, Customer Service and Public & Government Affairs groups are partnering and collaborating with Johnson Utilities’ employees and we appreciate your patience as we tackle the important work ahead.

We’re identifying immediate improvements that can be made in the first 3-6 month, as well as planning for longer-term improvements all focusing on safety and customer service issues. Some changes can be made quickly, while long-term infrastructure solutions will take a little longer. We know it’s not easy, but we’re asking for your patience.

The bottom line is this – we’re focused on getting in there and making a difference.

Introducing EPCOR – Community Open House

It’s important that you get to know us and learn more about what’s being done to improve your service. Please join EPCOR, Supervisor Goodman, Rep. Townsend, Rep. Shope and Rep. Cook for a community meeting:​

Thursday, October 11, 2018
6 to 7:30 pm
Central Arizona College – SanTan Campus
3736 E Bella Vista Road, San Tan Valley, AZ 85143

Engineering Review and Analysis

Separate from EPCOR’s role as Interim Manager, EPCOR is conducting a 60-day Engineering Review and Analysis for the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC). This study, a comprehensive evaluation of the assets and needs of the water and wastewater systems and facilities that provide your service, is on schedule to be provided to the ACC at the end of September. It will be an important step in addressing the issues affecting your service.​

Water Pressure Concerns

Customers are reporting low water pressure at their homes. Rest assured, EPCOR’s team is actively looking into this and we’re prioritizing calls where water pressure is dipping below 20 psi. ​

Here’s what we’re doing: Our engineering team is reviewing the entire system to determine customer usage patterns and system capacity. We’ve identified several booster stations that aren’t properly sized to accommodate water demand, and we’re establishing zones to manage pressure. Infrastructure work will be needed to put permanent solutions in place, and that’s going to take time. ​

Here’s where we need your help: If your water pressure is low, call customer service at 480-987-9870. We need as much information as possible – location, the time of the issue, how bad was the pressure. With that information, we can put a pressure logger in place and record the pressure for a week or two so that we can better pinpoint the issue and how to resolve it.​

Preventing Against Sewer Overflows

We’ve identified many of the same concerns that the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) previously did. Our team is evaluating the facilities to determine the best solution for both the short- and long-term, prioritizing safety and customer service concerns.

Sanitary sewer overflows are a critical priority. The engineering evaluation will identify short- and long-term priorities for the system, and our operations team is working on immediate changes that can be made.

For example, Johnson Utilities utilizes 36 different lift stations to move wastewater through pressurized pipelines to different treatment facilities. During a recent lift station overflow, we discovered that the valves controlling the flow of the wastewater were not operating and that there were no air relief valves on the five-mile force main. We temporarily bypassed the system to make those immediate repairs.

Customer Service and Billing
EPCOR’s Director of Customer Operations and our Customer Care specialists are working directly with the Johnson Utilities team to address any billing or service concerns that are received, and we’re reviewing processes that are currently in place to determine what improvements should be made.​

Your Bill for Service: EPCOR is Interim Manager, but your bill for service will still come from and is due to Johnson Utilities because it remains a separate legal entity. EPCOR has direct oversight of the utility’s finances and will ensure that your bills and payments are processed appropriately.

Contacting us and Reporting Service Issues: Johnson Utilities provides your service, under EPCOR’s management and direction. To contact customer service or report a service issue, please call:

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   

A message to Johnson Utilities Customers


On August 31 management and operations of Johnson Utilities was transferred to EPCOR, effective immediately.


We recognize that the past months have been challenging, both for customers and employees. Under EPCOR's leadership, we are focused on the road ahead and the critical work that needs to be done to address operational and infrastructure issues, to ensure clean, safe and reliable utility services, and to restore Johnson Utilities customers' trust.


EPCOR is fully committed to bringing our operational, engineering and customer service expertise to Johnson Utilities and to you, and we appreciate your patience as we focus on the work ahead.