Water & Wastewater Rates

Water & Wastewater Rates

Effective November 1, 2020

Water Charge per Unit used - Commercial - $4.09
Water Charge per Unit used - Multi-Dwelling - $3.39
Water Charge per Unit used - Residential (0-8 Units) - $3.39
Water Charge per Unit used - Residential (9-15 Units) - $3.80
Water Charge per Unit used - Residential (15+ Units) - $3.86
Non Metered Residential Flat Rates (11 Units) - $3.92

                                                                                                                                       
Residential (Single Family), Commercial, Multi Family & IR Water Base

¾” Meter - $9.26
1” Meter - $15.40
1 ½” Meter - $30.80
2” Meter - $49.20
3” Meter - $92.40
4” Meter - $154.30
6” Meter - $308.60
8” Meter - $555.40
12” Meter - $694.20

Wastewater Charge per Unit used - Residential - $3.34
Wastewater Charge per Unit used - Commercial - $4.49
Wastewater Base - Commercial & Residential - $9.73 per month

Single Family Water Service Line Replacement Loan Program - $2.50/Month
Single Family Sewer Service Line Replacement Loan Program - $6.47/Month

Residential wastewater is computed on the average water used starting with your October read and ending with your May read.  Any changes will be reflected on your July bills.  Commercial wastewater is based on the actual water usage each month.

1 unit = 100 cubic feet or 748 gallons

Automatic Payment Withdrawal

Automatic Payment Withdrawal

The City of Helena offers automatic payment withdrawal for its utility customers.  This program allows you the option of paying your monthly bill automatically through direct withdrawal from your checking or savings account.  This means no waiting in line, no postage costs, no checks to fill out, no driving, no worry when you’re gone, and no additional cost to you for this convenient service. 

You will still receive your normal monthly bill as you do now, but instead of sending in a payment, your bank account will be charged with the amount of the bill on the 20th of each month or closest business day if it falls on a weekend.  This will give you time to review your bill and make any necessary deposit before the payment is automatically deducted from your account.  The date of the withdrawal is shown on your monthly bill as the due date.

Customers must have all outstanding account balances paid in full before signing up for this service.  To initiate service, please complete an Automatic Payment Withdrawal form  and return it along with a cancelled check or deposit slip (for savings accounts only).  Customers can cancel this service at any time. 

Deduct Meters

Deduct Meters

(Commercial Properties Only)
On commercial properties water and wastewater are billed based on your actual water usage.  

A separate irrigation meter may be a cost-effective way of conserving on wastewater charges and will likely pay for itself on any commercial application where there is notable irrigation usage.  The purpose of this meter is that it deducts the water that is used for irrigation purposes so that you are not paying sewer charges for water that did not go down the sewer. You will continue to be charged a base charge for the meter even when the irrigation is off for the winter.

Delinquent Accounts

Delinquent Accounts

Residential and Commercial Water and Sewer:  Whenever a water/sewer bill has been delinquent for 30 days, an orange letter will be sent giving notice of the delinquency and advising payment must be received within 15 days or water service could be discontinued.  The delinquency letter will be sent to both the renter and owner of the property if applicable.  If payment is still not received, a door tag will be hung on the door at the service address requesting payment within 2 days or shut off will be scheduled.  Once water service is terminated, payment in full plus $125 shut off/turn on fee must be paid to reinstate service.  At the time of payment, we will help you schedule an appointment with the Water Maintenance Division to schedule the water turn on.  Generally the water can be turned back on the same day as payment.  Delinquent accounts are subject to 1.5% interest per month.

Sanitation-Commercial:  Whenever a commercial garbage bill has been delinquent for 30 days, an orange letter will be sent giving notice of the delinquency and advising payment must be received within 15 days.  If payment is still not received on commercial containers, the transfer station may remove the container from the user’s premises.  A twenty-five dollar ($25.00) fee shall be paid, by the user, for return of the container after all balances owing have been paid in full. 

Sanitation – Tipping and Roll Off Containers:  Whenever a tipping or roll off container bill has been delinquent for 30 days, an orange letter will be sent giving notice of the delinquency and advising payment must be received within 15 days.  If payment is not made, the customer will be prohibited from dumping at the Transfer Station or obtaining any roll off containers until the balance is paid in full. Customers who are prohibited from dumping will be turned over to the City Attorney’s office for collection of the outstanding amounts.

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Question:  I am selling/buying a property in Helena, how do I connect/disconnect service?     

Answer:  If you are selling/buying a property in Helena, contact the Utility Customer Service office at 447-8450 at least two business days prior to closing.  This allows our office to obtain a final reading from the water meter for the old owner, and start service for the new owner.  The information that we require is the service address, seller’s name, buyer’s name and mailing address, date of closing, and Title Company handling the closing.  If this property is commercial and you want garbage pickup, set up garbage service with the Transfer Station at 447-8086.  If you are selling your commercial property and currently have garbage service with us, you will need to call the Transfer Station and stop your service.

Question:  I am a landlord and would like my tenant to receive and pay the utility bill. How do I do this?    

Answer:  In order for your tenant to receive the water bill there is a Rental Authorization Form that needs to be filled out by the landowner or authorized property manager.  Once this form is filled out and returned to our office, the bill will still show the landowners name but will be mailed C/O the tenant.  A new authorization form needs to be completed for each new tenant. The landowner will be notified of any delinquency.   If the tenant moves out and does not take care of his/her bill, the landowner is responsible. It is recommended for owners to receive a duplicate copy of the bill each month for no additional cost.  City Code 6-2-3, rule #14.

Question:  I am a landlord and my tenant did not pay his/her bill, which one of us is responsible?      

Answer:  If your tenant moves out and does not take care of his/her bill, the landowner is responsible.  City Code 6-2-3, rule #14.

Question:  How can I find out how much my tenant owes up to the day they move out?     

Answer:  If you have a tenant moving out, contact the Utility Customer Service department at 447-8450 at least two business days prior to the tenant moving.  We will order a final meter reading taken to have an exact stopping point for your tenant.  We can give you the amount owing through their last day once we have a reading.  Then you will receive the billing as normal at the end of the month.    

Question:  When are late fees assessed to my bill and how much?    

Answer:  Any unpaid water bill that is more than 30 days past due shall have assessed against it interest at the rate of 1.5% per month. (City Code 6-2-3, rule #24)

Question:  Do you have any off site drop boxes for payments?  

Answer:  The city has three off site drop boxes.  They are located at Van's Thriftway outside on the wall by the mailbox, Albertson's North on the wall by the mailbox and the other is on Broadway, across from the Base Camp.  It is the first box when you drive through the island.   

Question:  Whom do I contact if my water meter is leaking?       

Answer:  Contact the Water Maintenance Dept. at 457-8567.

Question:  I am a renter.  How do I get the water bill sent to me?      

Answer:  For a renter to get the water bill sent to them, the owner/property manager has to sign the Renter's Authorization Form.  Once that is completed and returned to our office, your name will be added to the bill after the owner’s name. 

Question:  Where can I pay my bill in person?     

Answer:  If you would like to pay your bill in person, you may do so at the Utility Customer Service office located in the City/County Building at 316 N Park Ave, Room 150.  Our hours are Monday through Friday from 8:00am – 5:00pm.

Question:  Who is responsible for any maintenance to my service line and curb box?        

Answer:  The city shall not be responsible for pipes and fixtures; all owners, at their own expense, must keep service pipes from the city mains and all their apparatus in good working order and properly protected from frost or other dangers.  (City Code 6-2-3, Rule #7)

Question:  Is there a way for me to look at my account online?   

Answer:  Currently the City of Helena does not have the capability for our customers to view their account online.

Question:  How often is my water meter read?

Answer:  The City of Helena reads your water meter every month. 

Question:  When are water bills sent out and when are they due?    

Answer:  Water bills are usually mailed the first week of each month.  You should not under normal circumstances receive your bill later than the 10th of each month.  Bills are generally due about the 20th of each month.

Question:  Can I pay my bill with a credit card, debit card or e-check?       

Answer:  Yes, we do offer payment by credit card, debit card and e-check for your utility bill.  We accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover Card.  The are no additional fees associated with these types of payments.

Question:  I just built a home and I need a container for my garbage.  How do I get one?    

Answer:  You will need to come to the Accounting and Licensing Department at the City/County Building, Room 320.  You will pay a prorated amount for service through June 30th of the current fiscal year and be issued a permit which will allow you to take items directly to the transfer station.  Your container will be delivered to your residence within 3-5 business days.

Question:  Where can I pick up my residential dump permit?  

Answer:   If it has already been paid for, you will need to take proof of legal ownership of the property to the Transfer Station and they will issue you a residential dump permit.  This permit allows you to haul extra items into the transfer station.

Question:  Do I have to have residential garbage service?      

Answer:  Yes.  As a City of Helena resident you are billed on your property taxes for residential solid waste. 

Question:  Whom do I contact if my garbage container is damaged or missing?        

Answer:  If your container is damaged or missing please contact the City of Helena Transfer Station at 447-8082.

Question:  How are my sewer (wastewater) charges calculated?   

Answer:  Residential sewer is calculated based on your actual usage from the October meter read through your May meter read.  The new charges will be reflected on your July bill (mailed early August) each year.  Newly constructed residential is billed on the city wide average (7 units) per dwelling for the first year until your usage is established.  Commercial charges are based on actual water consumption.

Question:  Why am I paying for wastewater twice on my bill?     

Answer:  Wastewater (sewer) is based on your actual usage October through May.  This is the water that actually goes down the sewer pipes.  The wastewater surcharge amount goes into a maintenance fund for the sewer system.

Question:  Does my lawn watering affect my wastewater calculation?       

Answer:  Yes!  If you are watering your lawn either before May 15th or after October 15th it may affect your wastewater calculation. 

Question:  My bill is higher than normal, why?

Answer:  The most common reason is an increase in water consumption.  There are many causes for increased consumption and sometimes we cannot pinpoint the exact reason.  Our first recommendation is that you assess your property for plumbing problems such as a leaky toilet, faucet or a broken pipe.  Most high water bills are a result of such problems.  Also, summer time watering can cause very large changes to your water bill.  You can also look at your meter, which is equipped with a leak indicator, (click here).  The indicator will go off once the problem is resolved.  If you have checked for plumbing problems and are unable to find an explanation, you may call our Maintenance Division at 457-8567 to set an appointment with one of our technicians.

Question:  Can I read my own meter?  It appears to be blank.      

Answer:  Yes, you can read your own meter.  Click here for a complete description and picture explaining how to read your meter.  If you still have problems reading it, please feel free to stop at our office for a demonstration or call our Maintenance Shop at 457-8567 to have someone come to your home.

Question:  The water meter box on the outside of my house doesn’t appear to be working.  Why?      

Answer:  That’s because it was disconnected when we installed your new meter inside your home.  If you are painting or re-siding your home, you can remove the box if you wish.

Question:  I go south for the winter each year so my house is empty.  Why do I continue getting a bill even though there is no water being used?

Answer:  Unless you have the water turned off at the curb box, you will continue to be billed for the base charges and sewer charges even though there is zero water consumption.  If you wish to turn it off, please call the Maintenance Shop at 457-8567 to schedule it.

​​​​​​​Tips to save water and money

​​​​​​​Tips to save water and money

1. Water your lawn only when it needs it. Step on your grass. If it springs back, when you lift your foot, it doesn't need water. So set your sprinklers for more days in between watering. Saves 750-1,500 gallons per month. Better yet, especially in times of drought, water with a hose.
2. Monitor your water bill for unusually high use. Your bill and water meter are tools that can help you discover leaks. Check your meter to see if the leak indicator is on. Listen for water running and fix leaky faucets and plumbing joints. Faucet repair can save up to 300 gallons a month.
3. Don't run the hose while washing your car. Use a bucket of water and a quick hose rinse at the end. Saves 150 gallons each time. For a two-car family that's up to 1,200 gallons a month.
4. Install water saving showerheads or flow restrictors. Saves 500 to 800 gallons per month.
5. Run only full loads in the washing machine and dishwasher. Saves 300 to 800 gallons per month.
6. Shorten your showers. Even a one or two minute reduction can save up to 350 gallons per month.
7. Use a broom instead of a hose to clean driveways and sidewalks. Saves 150 gallons or more each time. At once a week, that's more than 600 gallons a month.
8. Don't use your toilet as an ashtray or wastebasket. Saves 400 to 600 gallons per month.
9. Capture tap water. While you wait for hot water to come down the pipes, catch the flow in a watering can to use later on houseplants or your garden. Saves 200 to 300 gallons per month.
10. Don't water the sidewalks, driveway or gutter. Adjust your sprinklers so that water lands on your lawn or garden where it belongs--and only there. Saves 500 gallons per month.

In The Bathroom:

1. If you're taking a shower, don't waste cold water while waiting for hot water to reach the showerhead. Catch that water in a container to use on your outside plants or to flush your toilet. Saves 200 to 300 gallons a month.
2. Check toilet for leaks. Put dye tablets or food coloring into the tank. If color appears in the bowl without flushing, there's a leak that should be repaired. Fixing it can save up to 1,000 gallons a month.
3. Turn off the water while brushing your teeth. Saves two gallons each day.
4. Turn off the water while shaving. Fill the bottom of the sink with a few inches of water to rinse your razor. Saves three gallons each day.

 

In The Kitchen and Laundry:

1. If you wash dishes by hand--and that's the best way--don't leave the water running for rinsing. If you have two sinks, fill one with rinse water. If you only have one sink, use a spray device or short blasts instead of letting the water run. Saves 200 to 500 gallons a month.
2. When washing dishes by hand, use the least amount of detergent possible. This minimizes rinse water needed. Saves 50 to 150 gallons a month.
3. Keep a bottle of drinking water in the refrigerator. This beats the wasteful habit of running tap water to cool it for drinking. Saves 200 to 300 gallons a month.
4. Don't defrost frozen foods with running water. Either plan ahead by placing frozen items in the refrigerator overnight or defrost them in the microwave. Saves 50 to 150 gallons a month.
5. Don't let the faucet run while you clean fruits & vegetables. Rinse them in a filled sink or pan. Reuse the water for your houseplants. Saves 150 to 250 gallons a month.
6. Use the garbage disposal less and the garbage more (even better--compost!). Saves 50 to 150 gallons a month.

Outside:

1. Put a layer of organic mulch around trees and plants to reduce evaporation. Saves 750 to 1,500 gallons a month.
2. Water during the cool parts of the day to minimize evaporation. Early morning is better than dusk since it helps prevent the growth of fungus. Saves 300 gallons.
3. Don't water the lawn on windy days. There's too much evaporation. Can waste up to 300 gallons in one watering.
4. Cut down watering on cool and overcast days and don't water in the rain. Adjust or deactivate automatic sprinklers. Can save up to 300 gallons each time.
5. Set lawn mower blades one notch higher. Longer grass means less evaporation. Aerate your lawn at least once a year so water can reach the roots rather than run off the surface. Saves 500 to 1,500 gallons each month.
6. Have an evaporative air conditioner? Direct the water drain line to a flowerbed, tree base, or lawn.
7. Drive your car onto a lawn to wash it. Rinse water can help water the grass.
8. If you allow your children to play in the sprinklers, make sure it's only when you're watering the yard--if it's not too cool at that time of day.
9. Landscape-replace your lawn and high-water-using trees and plants with less thirsty ones. But do this only in wet years. Even drought resistant plantings take extra water to get them going. That'll save 750 to 1,500 gallons a month.

How to Check for Toilet Leaks

How to Check for Toilet Leaks

Contrary to popular belief, you can’t always hear a leak.  Toilets are notorious for their hidden leaks and can waste hundreds of gallons a day undetected.  Before you call a plumber, there is one simple, inexpensive way to test your toilets.  Lift up the lid on the back of your tank and put a few drops of liquid food coloring in.  Close the lid and leave the toilet overnight.  If colored water shows in the bowl without flushing, there is a leak and repairs are necessary.  Also check all your faucets for drips.  A dripping faucet or fixture can easily waste 1000 gallons a month.

  • Check
  • Money Order
  • Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover Card
  • E-check
  • Automatic payment withdrawal (Bank Draft):  You may sign up for your monthly billing to automatically come out of your checking or savings account.  You will still receive a monthly bill and the payment is deducted on the 20th of each month or closest business day. Customers must fill out an authorization form for this. For more information about this option, click here.


*Please make sure that a payment stub is enclosed or that your account number appears on your check to ensure proper application of your payment.

Customers may pay their bill by mail using the return envelope provided or in person at Utility Customer Service Dept., 316 N Park, Room 150, Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 5:00pm.  There is also a drop box at Van's Thriftway outside on the wall by the mailbox, Albertson's North on the wall by the mailbox and one across from the Basecamp on Broadway, in the island.

How to read your water meter

How to read your water meter

The City of Helena uses radio frequency meters, which are read by equipment from outside your home. Most meters are read by simply driving by your home or building. Meters are read every month. Your water meter is normally located in the basement or crawl space of your home or building.

How To Read Your Own Meter:
Your meter was made by Neptune. It is equipped with a solar cell, which supplies power for the LCD panel. In order to activate the panel you will need a high-powered flashlight. We have found the 3-inch camping flashlights work great. Just hold your flashlight over the solar cell(1) and within a few seconds you will begin seeing the reading in the LCD display box(5) located just below the solar cell. Continue holding the flashlight over the solar panel. The average rate of flow (4) is displayed every 6 seconds alternating with the reading. All meters started at zero (0). To get the reading, begin from the left and write down the numbers. The meter reading is shown in units. One unit=100 cubic feet or 748 gallons. For residential customers you will need to read the first four (4) numbers. The number of digits to read varies on commercial accounts depending on the size of the meter, so please feel free to call our office if you have questions.

The meter is also equipped with a leak indicator(2). If you see a water faucet above the numbers on the left hand side, this could indicate a possible leak. The meter monitors a 24-hour period in fifteen-minute intervals. If the faucet is flashing, this indicates that water has been used for at least 50 of the 96 15-minute intervals during a 24-hour period. If the faucet is showing continuously, this indicates that water was on for all of the 96 15-minute intervals during a 24-hour period.

The flow indicator(3) arrow shows the direction of flow through the meter. If you do not see the arrow, then water is not in use. If the arrow is flashing, then water is running slowly.

If you still have problems reading your meter, please feel free to stop at our office and we would be happy to give you a demonstration.

See diagrams below.

Who Should I Contact?

Who Should I Contact?

Accounting/Billing

  • General Billing - Water, Sewer, Alarms, Commercial Sanitation, Automatic Payment Withdrawal, Delinquent Accounts - 406-447-8450
  • Residential Transfer Station permits for new construction - 406-447-8416

Fees

Miscellaneous

Maintenance Shop

  • Water Leaks, Sewer Backups, Water Main Breaks, Water Pressure or Flows - 406-457-8567

Transfer Station

  • Commercial sanitation - 406-447-8086
  • Garbage pickup problems, Questions regarding your solid waste container, and all other City Transfer Station permit questions - 406-447-8082