MISSOULA – The superintendent of Missoula Water has told the Missoula City Council the department has been fixing a lot of problems since taking over from the privately-held Mountain Water Company last summer.

But Dennis Bowman says the city is making good progress with everything from equipment to customer service. He told the council’s Committee of the Whole assuming control of the utility started off with an immediate challenge, with the entire water system about to run out of chlorine right when Missoula took over.

“There was a question whether there was enough chlorine on site to be able to last the weekend,” Bowman said. “And so they ask me about it. I said ‘get it and bring it in.’ So that Friday they delivered and filled all the chlorine vats up. So that way we had plenty of chlorine to get through.”

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Missoula leaders had known there were a number of serious issues with the Mountain Water system, which they acquired through an expensive condemnation case that lasted for over two years. There were problems with leakage and equipment.

But Bowman tells the council there have been unexpected problems, such as thousands of water meters where the batteries hadn’t been replaced.

“The previous owners did a lot of meter change outs back then,” Bowman said. “They did a little over 2,000 meters in 2006 and 2007. So, because that action back then we’re paying for it now because those meters are starting to die.”

Bowman says if customers are noticing problems, they should call Missoula Water for service.

Reporting by Dennis Bragg for MTN News