Halifax Water manager Carl Yates used Tuesday's council meeting to give a rare public update on the state of repairs on the failed sewage treatment plant.

The short story is that work is progressing as well as can be expected, in exactly the manner first publicly outlined by The Coast (see "How the sewage plant broke," August 13). Electrical junction boxes, control panels and sensors that had been below hydraulic grade, down in the 85-foot-deep wet well below the plant (picture at left), have been moved to street level, where they can't be submerged by erratic sewage flows, as happened the night of the failure. Other replacement equipment has been ordered, and engineers are reconfiguring two emergency back-up generators such that the plant can run on just one of them, if necessary.

Temporary diversion of raw sewage away from shoreline outfalls and through the plant, out to the middle of the harbour, will likely commence next week, while full normal operation of the plant won't be reached until spring.

Yates also confirmed for the first time that engineers are working on redesigns for the pumping station at Inglis and Barrington Streets, which last year discharged raw sewage into nearby apartment buildings.

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