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ADEQ Says Serious Challenges Remain With Johnson Utilities

The Arizona Corporation Commission held a special meeting Wednesday to get an update on East Valley water and sewage company Johnson Utilities. The commission appointed EPCOR interim manager of Johnson Utilities in 2018 after customers complained of low water pressure, unannounced outages and sewage overflows.

ADEQ Director Misael Cabrera said while his agency has identified recent compliance issues at the utility under EPCOR’s management, it has not documented them.

“We have utilized our enforcement discretion, via, creating patience for the ACC and EPCOR and legal process to run its course,” Cabrera said.

But he said the agency’s patience is running out, citing continued groundwater pollution, violation of reclaimed water standards and sewer overflows.

An EPCOR spokesman stated the company’s reputation depends on a spotless compliance record, and if ADEQ starts citing EPCOR for problems that it believes Johnson Utilities is responsible for, EPCOR could walk away from the interim management agreement.

Jimmy Jenkins was a producer and senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2014 to 2021.