Consecutive water main breaks across downtown Nashville causes disruptions

Water main break
Posted at 6:08 PM, Mar 16, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-16 20:23:20-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Under Davidson County, residents will find 3,000 miles of water mains, and some of them are more than 100 years old.

The age of the pipes could be why there were three water main breaks in downtown Nashville this week. Metro Water Services tries to be proactive when it comes to maintaining water mains, but they’re no match for Mother Nature.

"When we have really cold or hot weather, the ground can shift. So, when we have freezes and it thaws, the ground shifts. When we have drought or extreme heat it cools off, and the ground can shift," said Sonia Allman, Metro Water Services manager of strategic communications.

Construction crews can also cause it to break and the type of material it’s made out of.

Allman said a combination of those factors may be the reason why there were three water main breaks in downtown Nashville this week.

The first one happened Tuesday, which impacted the jail, the Ben West Building and the Birch Building.

On Wednesday, a 12-inch water main broke on Spring Street and Dickerson Pike and then Thursday morning an 8-inch main broke at the capitol.

"When we do have a break, we try to isolate the location of the break. We shut it down on either end of the break, allow us to flow for a while even while crews are staging and getting ready that’s to maintain that positive pressure," Allman said.

Plumbing expert Maclain Myers said sometimes a water main break can cause damage to your home or business.

"You may have to flush your system once there has been a main break," Jack Ward and Sons Plumbing employee Maclain Myers said.

Metro Water Services isn't seeing a major increase in water mains breaking.

2023 breaks – 95
2022 breaks– 524
2021 breaks – 498

Thursday's break did affect service at Cordell Hull Building, but water services are expected to return back tomorrow.

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