A flooded area at the Halifax sewage treatment plant on Jan. 14, 2009. ((Halifax Regional Municipality))

Faced with problems at the Halifax sewage treatment plant, municipal officials are being cautious with other parts of the system.

The facility on Barrington Street has been shut down since January when a power failure led to extensive flooding, causing untreated sewage to flow into the harbour once again. The plant isn't expected to be fully repaired until next spring.

Brad Anguish, director of the $332-million Halifax Harbour Solutions project, said the municipality won't take possession of the Dartmouth and Herring Cove plants until they know what happened at the Halifax station.

"We'll be using the results of our investigation. That may influence the acceptance of Dartmouth or Herring Cove, for sure," Anguish told Halifax regional council on Tuesday.

The plant on the Dartmouth side of the harbour has been operating since last year. The facility in Herring Cove is scheduled to start running this summer.

The municipality has also decided not to accept ownership of a wastewater pumping station on Inglis Street in downtown Halifax. A parking garage at a nearby apartment building has filled with sewage water at least twice.

The municipality has installed flow monitoring equipment in the station as part of its investigation.

Opening of the 'black box'

Officials expect to know more next week about the damaged Halifax sewage treatment facility when a computerized "black box" is opened.

The device, which records various functions of the plant, has remained sealed while municipal officials, contractors and insurers developed a protocol to open it.

Carl Yates, general manager of Halifax Water, the municipality's water commission, said there were "complications and sensitivities."

"There are sign-offs that we will do this to the best of our abilities and we won't destroy any data and the data will be available to all parties to analyze later," Yates said.

The municipality is trying to get insurance to cover the cleanup and repair costs.