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Johnson Utilities Interim Manager Says It's Making Progress

The interim manager for Johnson Utilities told the Arizona Corporation Commission on Tuesday it was making progress restoring the troubled utility’s infrastructure.

The commission selected EPCOR to take over management of the company in 2018 after customers near the San Tan Valley complained of low water pressure and sewage overflows.

EPCOR representative Jeff Stuck said the company is powering up existing wells and restoring pumps and water lines.

EPCOR is also seeking an interconnect agreement with the nearby town of Queen Creek to provide additional water reserves before peak usage hits in a few months.

Representatives for the town say it will not be able to provide water without indemnification from a lawsuit from the original Johnson utilities owners, who oppose such a move.

EPCOR representatives told the commission that while sewer overflows continue to be a problem, Johnson customers will have enough water to make it through the summer.

“We think we have enough supply this summer to meet current customer demand," said EPCOR representative Troy Day."We hope to be in a position to lift all restrictions probably by the 4th quarter of 2019.”

Currently homebuilders are limited by a moratorium on new water and sewage connections in the Johnson service area imposed by the commission in November 2018.

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Jimmy Jenkins is a senior field correspondent at KJZZ and a contributor to NPR’s Election 2020 and Criminal Justice station collaborations. His work has been featured on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Marketplace, Here and Now, The Takeaway and NPR Newscasts.Originally from Terre Haute, Indiana, Jenkins has a B.S. in criminology from Indiana State University and a master’s degree in journalism from Indiana University.Much of his reporting has focused on the criminal justice system. Jenkins has reported on Tasers, body cameras, use of force, jail privatization, prison health care and the criminal contempt trial of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.