The long and winding road that will eventually end with Mountain Water Company becoming the Missoula Water Company will come to an end in the courtroom of District Judge Karen Townsend on Thursday.

At 11:00 a.m. the final order of condemnation will be signed. One piece of the highly complicated puzzle is the fate of the workers at Mountain Water. Attorney Gary Zadick has been working for the last two years to help the employees gain contracts with the City of Missoula.

"Over all, the great majority have already signed contracts with the city," Zadick said "There are a few employees left that we're working on details with. I expect that Thursday the water system will function because the employees are committed to providing safe, reliable water. I'm assuming they have some nervousness about going to work for a new employer. They weren't unhappy where they were. We have details left with three or fewer employees that we're still working out."

Zadick said working to represent the Mountain Water employees has been a labor of love.

"It's been a labor of love in a lot of ways, I mean, it's their jobs and their livelihood," he said." Sure, you worry. This is more stressful than a lot if litigation you might be involved in because you're dealing with people trying to take care of their families. They're a committed bunch, they're proud of their water system. They want to keep it running and in good shape. They're a good bunch of people."

The process, which has taken over three years, has involved a contentious condemnation lawsuit, an appeal to the Montana Supreme Court and millions of dollars in legal fees, has resulted in the city taxpayers being responsible for a $140 million price tag.