SAN TAN VALLEY — EPCOR Water officials say there is no danger to the health or well being of customers in the San Tan Valley area, despite a warning from a state office.
Rebecca Stenholm, a spokeswoman with EPCOR, the company that is serving as the interim manager for Johnson Utilities, said the effluent being discharged from the Pecan Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant meets all standards “consistent with irrigation water used by golf courses, public parks and other similar uses across Arizona.”
On Friday, the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality issued a warning to residents in the San Tan Valley and Queen Creek areas that are serviced by Johnson Utilities that the water is treated but not to the level required for surface water appropriate for full or partial bodily contact.
However, Stenholm said that simply isn’t true.
“Last week, EPCOR notified ADEQ that because the onsite basins were full and current users did not have any additional capacity, some of the effluent would need to be discharged to Queen Creek wash beginning Wednesday, Jan. 9. Permit-required water sampling confirmed that there was no adverse impact to public or environmental health. ADEQ was notified in advance of the discharge,” Stenholm said.
Stenholm said the testing, done prior to ADEQ’s warning and press release, met the “public health requirements for A+ treated effluent.”
“In addition, the release incorrectly stated that this discharge was related to prior sewer overflows. It is not — recent rains caused higher than usual effluent levels,” she said.
Since becoming the interim manager for Johnson Utilities in August, EPCOR has repeatedly said the Pecan Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, 38539 N. Gantzel Road, is in need of critical and costly repairs. In October, EPCOR released the findings of an engineering study of all of the infrastructure controlled by Johnson Utilities and has said as much as $170 million in repairs are needed company-wide.