Drinking Water

The City of Helena's drinking water is received from mountain reservoirs, streams and nearby rivers. Before we can drink and use it, it must be treated. The Water Treatment Division’s goals are to maintain the highest standards for water treatment while choosing a cost effective means to meet future standards. Supply customers with the highest quality potable water possible while keeping the water costs down. Investigate and implement practical and cost effective methods to treat the water looking at new and old technology.

The Water Treatment Division has a variety of duties to perform to acquire, treat and supply water culminating at the consumer's water tap. This requires the Water Treatment Division to work co-operatively with regulatory groups, environmental groups, and the public.

Responsibilities and Duties

  • Provide water resource management, to ensure adequate supplies for yearly operations.
  • To provide our customers with potable and palatable water.
  • To meet or exceed all regulatory requirements as required by the State DEQ and
  • the U.S. EPA regarding the Safe Water Drinking Act ensuring public health.
  • To accumulate water for late summer and winter usage in two reservoirs by means of an aqueduct system. To pre-treat the water contained in these reservoirs as required preventing algae growth. To maintain and monitor the dam structures to assure the public safety downstream.
  • To operate and maintain the watershed supply for the Ten Mile Water Treatment Plant with the best quality of water.
  • To operate and maintain the Missouri River Treatment Plant. To use the plant in conjunction with the Ten Mile Water Treatment Plant to maintain water flows as economically as possible.
  • To operate and maintain five pump stations to supply water at different elevations.
  • To periodically test the water and report the findings to all regulatory agencies.

Water Quality Violation

The City of Helena has been notified that recent testing of our drinking water revealed a violation of a drinking water standard. Although this is not an emergency, it is important that the community is aware. Utility billing customers will receive a notice of the drinking water quality violation in their April 2023 statement. The City has also created a page on Be Heard Helena to share additional information on the situation, and provide a way for residents to ask questions. Please visit https://beheardhelena.com/water-quality-notice to learn more.


Helena's Water System

Water Conservation

In 2021, the Citizen Conservation Board created the Water Wise Helena brochure; a practical guide to understanding water in the Helena area. The brochure includes tips to save on water, time and money.

Water Wise Helena Brochure(PDF, 55MB)

Water Conservation Tips

By conserving water and using it wisely you pay less. Not only will your monthly bill be lower but you can reduce the size of future water production costs, reducing everyone's costs. Below we have listed several tips to help you conserve water.

  • Fix all leaks. Even small leaks can add up to a substantial waste of water.
  • Keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator instead of running the water until it is cold. This avoids wasting water down the drain.
  • Don't let the water run when you brush your teeth.
  • Turn off the hose while washing your vehicle. Soak your car once. Turn off the hose and use a bucket of soapy water to wash the vehicle. Then turn the hose back on and rinse. Always wash it in the early morning or evening, this gives you time to wipe off the water reducing water spots too.
  • Water your lawn in the early morning, preferably or late evening. Avoid watering between 10:00 AM and 5:00 PM. Substantial water is lost to evaporation if you water in the heat of the day.
  • Water by hand. Don't use sprinklers that water the streets. Pavement does not grow with watering. When watering always be sure you don't waste water down the gutter.
  • Don't water every day, the lawn needs time to grow roots. If you water lightly every day the roots tend to grow up. This makes for a drought sensitive lawn with poor root growth.
  • Don't water until your foot steps are visible in the lawn. When you walk on your lawn the grass should spring back up. If it doesn't, it's time to water. The lawn may take on a slightly bluish cast when it needs water also.
  • Don't under water, it may damage your lawn and use up to three times as much water to restore your lawn.
  • Water 1/2" to 1" three times a week. Depending on your grass type and whether it is shaded, will dictate on how much you need to water. Go by how the grass is growing more than by any arbitrary number of inches to water.
  • Don't bag your grass clippings. You waste the grass as a natural mulch and expose the soil to direct sunlight drying it faster. Use a mulching mower or rake the clippings evenly over the lawn.
  • Don't over mow, leaving the lawn slightly longer shades the soil and does not stress the lawn as much. When it is really hot, let the grass grow to 4"-6" between mowing and then only cut about an inch or two.
  • Mow in the late evening or early morning. The grass weeps water from the cut ends.
  • Keep your sprinkler system tuned. A well designed and maintained sprinkler system can help conserve water. Adjust station timing to make sure that you are not over watering sections. Use a rain gauge to check. Install a rain sensor or turn the system off when it rains. Make sure that the spray patterns are adjusted, and you are not watering the street. Again, early morning is the best time to water.
  • Over watering can cause mold and mildew, damaging your lawn and turning it brown.
  • Don't over fertilize. Fertilizer can burn the lawn requiring extra watering.
  • Consider xeriscaping your lawn. Choose the grass, shrub, and trees that grow with the least amount of watering.