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  • Thursday , Feb 1 , 2018

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San Tan Valley Area Information

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EPCOR Customer Update

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In EPCOR's July report to the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) they presented a summary of the progress thet've made in the last 22 months to improve services for Johnson Utilities customers. They've included highlights of this report below. 

Improvements to Your Water Supply
Since EPCOR stepped in as Interim Manager of EPCOR Utilities, they'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 they've installed, and the outlook is good for current capacity to meet current demand and accommodate immediate future growth.

They'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 them 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.

Equally important is water quality, and they're pleased with the progress in this area. At new wells, they've followed construction criteria identified in the comprehensive groundwater evaluation that they 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 they've noted in previous reports, they've added a third vessel to the ion exchange (IX) water treatment system at Main Yard.

Going forward, their approach is to keep following the construction criteria from their groundwater study as new wells are added. For the wells that were already in the system and which produce lower-quality water, they'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 their 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 they'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 they'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 they'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.

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.

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