Johnson Utilities: Construction caused reduced water pressure - WFXG FOX 54 - News Now

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Johnson Utilities: Construction caused reduced water pressure

© Emily Hughes © Emily Hughes
SAN TAN VALLEY, AZ (CBS5) -

After high nitrate and E. coli scares in their water supply, some San Tan Valley residents are saying their water is discolored and the pressure is next to nothing.

Johnson Utilities said it was caused by construction on the system and two wells taken out of service.

The water situation has several customers voicing complaints.

"I have yellow water coming out of my sink and that's when I flipped out," said Emily Hughes.

She took videos of water spattering out of her shower head and of yellow water coming out of her kitchen faucet. She said the it's so bad, they couldn't operate their backyard slip 'n' slide for her son's birthday party, and they keep a week's worth of water handy just in case.

"You never know when you're going to get good water at your house and that frustrates me," Hughes said.

"I'm not getting enough water pressure to take a shower," said Chandra Nielsen, who lives down the street from Hughes.

There's a Facebook page where residents have been posting their own pictures and videos of their water problems.

"It's concerning as a mother, it's concerning as a consumer," Nielsen said.

Johnson Utilities declined an on-camera interview but said the problem is affecting one subdivision and stems from their December 2012 high nitrate levels. Greg Brown, the director of engineering, said they had to shut down two wells and are working to build a pipeline to blend two wells together. But he didn't know when that project would be complete. He also said it shouldn't be yielding yellow water.

CBS 5 News partner Independent News Media has reported that Johnson Utilities is petitioning a rate increase and that the staff at the Arizona Corporation Commission are recommending approving the request.

"If it were better quality water, I wouldn't be as upset about the rates, but I just don't know if we're ever going to get it," Hughes said.

The proposed rate increase was supposed to be discussed at Tuesday's corporation commission meeting, but it's been pulled from the agenda. The communications director the Arizona Corporation Commission, Rebecca Wilder, said it will resurface, but did not know when.

Johnson Utilities released the following statement on Wednesday:

"Johnson Utilities experienced reduced pressure on parts of its system during the peak demand times due to construction on the system and two wells that were taken out of service. We have adjusted pressures at our other water plants to make up for the loss in production.We are also connecting three existing wells directly to our storage tanks and one new well will be added to the system within the next 30 days once approved by ADEQ. We anticipate the pressure increasing as each of these construction projects are finished.

"Johnson Utilities has received water pressure complaints in the previous weeks from several customers. We have researched and found that these customers are located close to a mountain at the highest elevation of our system. Since they are at a higher elevation than the rest of the system, their homes experienced a larger drop in pressure during our peak demand. We have recently checked the pressure at the highest elevation in this community and it has ranged from 30 to 40 psi during our peak demand. Although this is above the minimum 20 psi standard, we understand our customer's desire for us to maintain the pressure above 40 psi at all times, so they can run all of their appliances. Our current construction projects will assist in this goal when complete.

"Johnson Utilities apologizes for any inconvenience this situation has caused for our valued customers."

 Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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