KINGMAN – Arizona Corporation Commissioner Andy Tobin is proposing an experimental program that changes the way the agency interacts with water companies.
The goal is to help struggling companies address problems before their customers’ health and services are at risk.
It might have helped Truxton Canyon Water Co. avoid some of the expense of cleaning up high levels of arsenic in water for Valle Vista residents outside of Kingman.
“Maybe this issue should have begun five years ago and they would have a process to improve their water quality,” Tobin told the Daily Miner Tuesday in a telephone interview from Phoenix. “You can imagine the cost to treat arsenic was much lower five years ago. By the time Truxton landed, we only had one place to go – a treatment plant.”
Truxton received a $350,000 loan from the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority (WIFA) in April to improve its drinking water system and resolve arsenic exceedances. The money was used to build a centralized arsenic treatment system and housing facility.
The privately-owned water company serves about 950 residents and six businesses in Valle Vista.
“Truxton is not alone,” Tobin said. “We were having a water crisis a month when I came to the ACC seven months ago.”
Tobin’s proposal is to connect companies that might need help with an interim manager or interim operator of their choice to provide expertise and get the company back on firm footing. The manager or operator must have solid managerial, technical and financial competence.
The program is targeted at water companies with fewer than 500 customers and will bring support in terms of regulatory relief, grant funding and capital improvement for rural water systems.
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