By Ryan Randazzo | Arizona Republic
People living in the portion of the southeast Valley served by Johnson Utilities say they are living in turmoil as taps run dry and sewers overflow while the company’s owner, George Johnson, faces unrelated charges of bribery in federal court.
The company’s manager says he is improving service and addressing problems, but a litany of complaints has regulators at the Arizona Corporation Commission considering whether to appoint an interim manager to run the company.
Johnson Utilities counts about 25,000 water customers and 35,000 sewer customers in Florence, the San Tan Valley area and Queen Creek.
Closing arguments are scheduled for Thursday in the bribery trial. The separate proceedings at the Corporation Commission have highlighted a variety of operational issues, including frequent sewer overflows and noxious gas coming from a treatment plant.
In late May, a pump failure left customers without water, including an Eduprize charter school in Queen Creek. Teachers there had to pour water into toilets to flush them for students.
Support for a new manager was growing before that outage.