Big Hole River Diversion Dam and Pump Station

The Big Hole River Diversion Dam and Pump Station Replacement project was initiated by the City and County of Butte-Silver Bow (BSB) to repair or replace the existing diversion dam, associated intake structure, and pump station. The previous water system was more than a century old and had been originally constructed to meet the needs of the copper mines and related mining industry in Butte and the surrounding community. Due to its age, the facility was in poor condition and posed an imminent threat of failure or malfunction, which would deprive the citizens of Butte of potable water.

The project combined all the facets of public infrastructure reconstruction of current day projects. This project was required to address the reliability for a public water supply; premier fishery and sensitive river system; recreational opportunities and safety concerns; environmental sensitivities including fish passage, species of special concern, and wetlands; historical preservation; water rights; and operational efficiency and safety, all with condensed time frames and budget constraints. Given the near term and imminent failure of the dam, DOWL was able to blend the concerns of all into a very successful project that will serve the Butte communities for generations.

DOWL and BSB Public Works Department worked together to tackle the many issues surrounding the diversion dam and pump station. DOWL provided engineering and design, environmental compliance and permitting, and construction services to assist BSB in replacing the dam, intake structure, and pump station all capable of providing 16 million gallons per day of raw water supply for the community.

2013 Montana ACEC Engineering Excellence Award – Water Resources


Butte, Montana


Mountain West





Construction Administration and Inspection

Dams and Irrigation

Drainage and River Systems



Public Involvement

Water Supply and Wastewater