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HISTORY OF JOHNSON UTILITIES IN SAN TAN VALLEY
PART 1

1999

AZ DEPARTMENT OF REAL ESTATE PLACES MORATORIUM ON HOME SALES IN JOHNSON RANCH

 The Arizona Department of Real Estate places a moratorium on home sales in Johnson Ranch after people bought homes before water and sewer plants were ready. MORE INFO

JANUARY 2000

ADEQ FILES SUIT AGAINST JOHNSON UTILITIES ENGINEER

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality files complaint against engineer Brian Tompsett, who certified the Johnson Ranch sewer treatment plant was complete. Site visits a week later showed it was not. ADEQ said it may have been the first time is questioned engineers reports, which “violated the trust.” Tompsett later became Johnson’s vice president.MORE INFO

2000

JOHNSON UTILITIES VIOLATES 25 WATER SAFETY LAWS

APRIL 2000

ADEQ DROPS CASE AGAINST JU ENGINEER, WAVING $100,000 IN FINES

ADEQ drops a case against Johnson Utilities, waiving more than $100,000 in penalties. MORE INFO

AUGUST 2000

JU SETTLES CASE FROM 25 VIOLATIONS

Johnson Utilities agrees to pay a $10,900 fine, settling an ADEQ case in which the company violated 25 water safety laws. MORE INFO

2001

ILLEGAL WATER DISTRICT FORMED

The Pinal County Board of Supervisors in 2001 approved the formation of the Skyline Domestic Water Improvement District (By George Johnson), which overlaps about two-thirds of Diversified’s state-approved service area. In 2004 the county settled with Diversified Water Improvement for an undisclosed amount. MORE INFO 

APRIL 2003

JOHNSON UTILITIES ILLEGALLY RUNS A WATER SYSTEM IN SUN VALLEY FARMS

Johnson Utilities pays $80,000, the largest drinking water fine in state history at the time. The fine stems from ADEQ citing the company for operating a water system in Sun Valley Farms without a permit. As part of the settlement, Johnson doesn’t have its operating certificate revoked by the Arizona Corporation Commission. MORE INFO

JULY 2003

ACC COMMISSIONER URGES QUEEN CREEK TO OPPOSE WATER PLAN

A member of the Arizona Corporation Commission is trying to persuade Queen Creek officials to keep opposing the creation of a water improvement district in nearby rural Pinal County.

Commissioner Bill Mundell of Chandler said he believes Pinal County officials are attempting to help a water utility with a history of rule violations to escape the state agency’s jurisdiction.

Mundell also mailed to town officials copies of commission documents that show Johnson Utilities was close to having its license revoked in April for violations of rules set by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. MORE INFO

SEPTEMBER 2003

HIGH USAGE WATER BILLS

The resident of Johnson Ranch in northern Pinal County claims that despite no changes in her usage habits, her bill was nearly triple what it has been during other summer months.

Stephanie and Todd Anfinson’s  July bill states that in one month they used 45,000 gallons of water — enough to fill four backyard swimming pools. They don’t even own a pool. MORE INFO

OCTOBER 2003

RESIDENTS SAY THEY WERE MISLED ABOUT LOCATION OF SEWAGE TREATMENT PLANT

“Two miles south is what the disclosure statement said,” Talbert added, referring to a document required by the Department of Real Estate that must be presented to prospective home buyers before they sign a purchase contract. MORE INFO

SEPTEMBER 2004

58 FECAL COLIFORM VIOLATION

 ADEQ cites Johnson for releasing excessive fecal coliform on 58 occasions without investigating the cause. MORE INFO

JANUARY 2005

29 FECAL COLIFORM VIOLATION

ADEQ cites Johnson after a site inspection for exceeding fecal coliform in the effluent 29 times. MORE INFO

FEBRUARY 2005

PINAL COUNTY ACCUSED OF HELPING JOHNSON UTILITIES WITH UNLAWFUL BUSINESS PRACTICES

For the second time in four years, the Pinal County Board of Supervisors is accused of helping Scottsdale developer and utilities baron George Johnson get away with unlawful business practices in connection with a water improvement district. MORE INFO

APRIL 2005

30,000 GALLON SEWAGE SPILL & 64 FECAL COLIFORM VIOLATIONS

ADEQ cites Johnson for releasing 30,000 gallons of sewage into a roadside ditch. AND ADEQ cites Johnson for failing to test turbidity and for exceeding fecal coliform limits 64 times MORE INFO

JANUARY 2007

FAILURE TO UPGRADE WATER WELL IMPROVEMENTS

ADEQ cites Johnson for failing to build necessary water well improvements. MORE INFO

MARCH 2007

JU CLAIMS THEY HAVE GREAT WATER

Responding to reported complaints of poor quality water, Tompsett pens a letter to the editor, claiming: “The water that comes out of the JU facility is better than any municipal water in the state. That’s not an accident … Perhaps the customers who feel the water is ‘funky’ are unaccustomed to high quality water.” MORE INFO

APRIL 2007

FLORENCE TO BUY JOHNSON UTILITIES

Florence wants to buy Johnson Utilities, which provides water and wastewater services to Johnson Ranch and surrounding areas, from local developer George Johnson.

Florence Mayor Tom Rankin said if the $192 million purchase goes through, he believes it would be the biggest acquisition of a utility company by a municipality in Arizona history. MORE INFO

AUGUST 2007

500,000 GALLONS OF EFFLUENT WATER LEAKED

ADEQ cites Johnson for discharging 500,000 gallons of treated effluent into an orchard, causing two sinkholes. The case was closed two months later. MORE INFO

AUGUST 2007

JU CITED FOR NOT HAVING PROPER STAFF ONSITE

ADEQ cites Johnson failing to have an on-site operator at a water plant. Instead of having an operator who visited daily, the company listed Greg Johnson, who worked in Scottsdale and visited three times a week. MORE INFO

MAY 2008

PECAN CREEK SEWAGE SPILL

On May 17 and 18, the plant experienced two sanitary sewer overflows in the Pecan Creek area of Pinal County. ADEQ officials estimated the discharge at about 6,000 gallons of raw sewage into Pecan Creek through a neighborhood spillway. MORE INFO

Seems to be always problems with the pumps. Johnson Utilities Vice President Brian Tompsett said Saturday’s incident was caused by debris building up, causing a pump to malfunction. He confirmed that raw sewage was released into the neighborhood’s spillway, which connects to Queen Creek Wash. MORE INFO

MAY 2008

FLORENCE TO RELEASE JOHNSON UTILITIES RECORDS

Pinal County Superior Court Judge Gilberto V. Figueroa on Tuesday ordered the town to produce the documents in response to a motion by the East Valley Tribune seeking the records under the state’s public records law.

The Tribune took legal action in a case between Florence and Johnson Utilities after being denied access to the $308,000 taxpayer-funded study, which analyzed the company’s viability for purchase by the town. MORE INFO

JUNE 2008

JOHNSON SUES 2 SAN TAN VALLEY RESIDENTS

The lawsuit alleges Sandquist and Fisher posted pointed comments on the community Web site forum and helped organize a protest of a company “customer appreciation” event by carrying water bottles containing mock contaminated water, hoisting protest signs and distributing fliers to attendees.

The lawsuit says that the women used the Web site to “publicize that they intended to protest (Johnson Utilities) at the event, to disseminate water bottles bearing false and misleading labels, to wear gas masks and to carry baby dolls dyed blue.” MORE INFO

JULY 2008

ANOTHER WASTEWATER LEAK

“This is a different situation than the Pecan Creek lift station release,” Crockett said. “This was sewage that had not been treated and this is perfectly suitable for use as irrigation.”

Remnants of the most recent spill of raw sewage – estimated at 10,000 gallons – have been sitting in the wash near the Pecan Creek neighborhood for nearly two months. MORE INFO

JULY 2008

JOHNSON UTILITIES, HOA SUE EACH OTHER OVER SEWAGE SPILL

On the heels of a defamation lawsuit filed against two Pinal County residents, water and wastewater company Johnson Utilities is suing the Pecan Creek Community Association. MORE INFO

OCTOBER 2008

JU CITED WITH 13 VIOLATIONS

ADEQ cities Johnson with 13 more violations stemming from the pits of buried biosolids. Alleged violations include scattering sewage sludge on the surface, disposing of it without a permit and failing to ensure that it didn’t contaminate the ground water. MORE INFO

FEBRUARY 2009

CAMBRIA SEWAGE SPILL

The recent spill involved clogged pipes in the Cambria subdivision near Ironwood and Ocotillo roads in Pinal County, an incident the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality is still investigating.

About 9,000 gallons of wastewater backed up, leaked out of two manholes and spilled over into two retention basins on the morning of Feb. 22, according to an ADEQ report and Brian Tompsett, executive vice president for Johnson Utilities. MORE INFO

MARCH 2009

JU CITED FOR STAGNATE WASTEWATER ON GOLF COURSE

 ADEQ cities Johnson for letting three or four feet of standing treated wastewater to accumulate on a development golf course. The gray water, used for irrigation was not supposed for human contact. MORE INFO

OCTOBER 2009

JU CITED WITH 6 VIOLATIONS

ADEQ cites Johnson with six violations after a site visit. The state said the company discharged effluent into a pecan grove without a permit, and in such volumes it killed trees. The company also reported the closure of a plant seven months after it was court ordered to do so, the state said,  MORE INFO

OCTOBER 2011

RATE INCREASE APPROVED BY THE ARIZONA CORPORATION COMMITTEE

During a Special Open Meeting held on Wednesday, August 11, 2010, the five sitting ACC Commissioners voted to adopt Decision No. 71854, which decreased Johnson’s water and wastewater revenues by $3,398,960 and $1,667,019 respectively, thus resulting in lower rates for Johnson’s water and wastewater customers.

On Wednesday, March 2, 2011 Johnson petitioned the ACC to amend Decision No. 71854 (“Petition”), which established the Company’s current rates and charges The approval on October 1st 2011 is also why George Johnson was indicted on Federal Bribery charges. MORE INFO

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