History Time Line of Water treatment In Helena

The Helena Water Department has a long interesting history. Below is a listing of some of the highlights.

1864 - The Helena Water Works established their first water rights on the Ten Mile Creek. To transport the water to Helena the Yaw Yaw ditch was established. The name Yaw Yaw is thought to have come from a reply to the question, "Should we build a ditch?".

1870 - Some of the first written information regarding Helena's water was in 1870. Water was taken from Grizzly Gulch and Dry Gulch (Davis street) and run down the "Big Ditch". This water was used for mining and drinking.

1873 - A second ditch was established from the Ten Mile settling ponds, to a pump station near Dotsonvile to Cannon street.

1886 - The separate water companies were consolidated into one company, the Helena Water Works Co., a New Jersey owned company.

1887 - The Bed Rock well was built. This later became the Eureka well.

1902 - A 16" wood stave pipe was laid to Woolston from Yaw Yaw.

1903 - A pumping station was built along Ten Mile Creek at the old Yaw Yaw station.

1910 - The City of Helena took over the Helena Water Works Co. through receivership on January 18, 1910. By court order the New Jersey company was forced to turn over the Helena Water Works Co. for $400,000. The water department consisted of Chessman Reservoir and the first two water rights to Ten Mile Creek, and water rights in Tucker, Arastra, Grizzly and Dry Gulches. Hale and Woolston reservoirs, Eureka Bed Rock system and pump house, Woolston Well, Yaw Yaw pump station, Oro Fino line, Grizzly Gulch line and all of the pipe lines valves, easements and right of ways.

1919- Yaw Yaw station abandoned.

1921- William A. Chessman built the water line from Ten Mile to Helena.

1935 - The '35 earth quake altered the water sources. Dry Gulch dried up, but Oro Fino increased slightly. A water line replaced the ditch from Oro Fino to Hale Reservoir.

1940's A second wood stave pipe was constructed from Yaw Yaw to Woolston.

In 1960 the Missouri River Treatment Facility and the East Side Reservoir were built. The East Side Reservoir was later called Malben Reservoir.

1973 - Upgrades were made to the filtration and sedimentation at the Missouri River Facility. The last of the wood stave pipe line was replaced from Yaw Yaw to Woolston reservoir.

1984 - The low zone pumps and supply line as well as a new sedimentation tank, additional clearwell and chemical building were added to the Missouri River Facility.

1990 - The Ten Mile Water Facility was completed. The first filtration Facility for the Ten Mile Creek.

2002- The East Side Reservoir and pump station was completed and accepted. This reservoir and station provides additional storage to Helena's east side as well as additional flow for water usage and fire protection to Helena's upper south side.

All that remains of the original purchase is Hale and Woolston reservoirs, Eureka pump house, Oro Fino and some of the original pipe lines.
Water was transported from the Ten Mile settling pond (reservoir) to Woolston Reservoir by open ditch and flume. Later a wood stave line was installed near what later became Le Grand Cannon Boulevard. Yaw Yaw pump station pumped water from Ten Mile Creek up to Woolston reservoir, but was abandoned when the pipe line was installed. Woolston Well is located near the Lewis and Clark fairgrounds. It was a large shallow hand dug well. It was given to the Lewis and Clark County Fairgrounds in the early 1970's.