Hale Reservoir on the southwest edge of Helena is currently empty while crews make repairs and improvements to the 130-year-old structure.
The 4.5 million gallon reservoir is utilized with other over above ground holding reservoirs, Ten Mile Creek, and the Missouri River to provide water to the City of Helena.
The budget for the project is about $375,000, and should be wrapped up in the next couple weeks.
“This project directly servers about 170 homes,” said City Utilities Engineer Jamie Clark, “but through pressure reducing valves that water goes to lower pressure zones. [Hale Reservoir] probably serves about a third of the population of Helena.”
In 2015, a leak test was conducted on Hale Reservoir which showed it was leaking 60,000- 70,000 gallons of water a day.
The City has hired a specialized team to install a new hypolon liner to fix the problem.
Clark told MTN that other than periodic maintenance, the reservoir has held up well over the years
“It’s a pleasure to work on an old structure like this,” said Clark. “They really just don’t build things like this anymore. It’s a testament to the mining folks that founded the city; that they built something that’s lasted so long.”
While the facility is empty, the City is utilizing the pumping station that feeds the reservoir and a 200,000 gallon tank that is located on Rodney Ridge.
The City chooses to do work like this in the fall when water demand is lower and wildfire danger is minimal.
“Really this is the last we should see the reservoir drained for at least 30 years,” said Clark.
The names of every individual that built Hale Reservoir have been lost to time.
However, their footprints are preserved in the concrete of the building, and their mark on the community endures.