Metro to begin sewer line inspection at Nashville bombing site

Cost of inspection, potential cleaning is $75,000
nashville bombing - 2nd avenue
Posted at 10:11 AM, Jan 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-05 06:33:51-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Metro Nashville officials are expected to provide another update Monday afternoon as the city recovers from the Christmas Day bombing on 2nd Avenue. Crews will also begin inspecting sewer lines to determine the extent of the damage.

Metro Water Services officials provided an update this morning, saying the sewer pipes in downtown are a combination of clay, concrete and an unknown material that is most likely clay. Some of the clay pipes date back to 1903, and there is concern that some of the underground infrastructure may have failed due to the impact and vibration of the blast.

"When you have an older clay pipe especially, that type of vibration could have caused it to fail," said Sonia Allman, Metro Water Services' Public Information Officer.

Allman said the cost of the inspection and potential cleaning is around $75,000. However, they won't know the full cost estimate until the inspection is complete, which Allman said will likely take a week. She said the pipe downtown is a combined sewer line, meaning it carries both storm water and sewage.

ACE Pipe Cleaning, Inc., Metro Water Services’ contractor, will use specialized CCTV equipment to inspect the infrastructure -- consisting of 12,000 feet of sewer line -- within the boundaries of Union Street to Broadway and 4th Avenue North to the Cumberland River.

Ace Pipe Cleaning, Inc. will inspect 12,000 feet of sewer line, ranging in size from 8 inches to 30 inches:

  • Clay - 3,300 feet
  • Unknown - 5,300 feet
  • Concrete - 1,800 feet
  • Brick - 450 feet (some of which are lined)

MWS officials said this will allow them to determine if repairs or replacements are needed. The extent of the work ultimately depends on if a pipe is cracked or if it has collapsed -- the latter of which would entail a much larger project.

Allman also addressed the city's aging infrastructure, saying that Metro has 3,100 miles of sewer line and of that, 58% -- which is about 1,700 miles -- is more than 40 years old. However, she said it’s not unusual for larger cities to have an aging sewer line.

“We monitor [the infrastructure] very closely,” Allman said. “If it’s still in good shape, even though it was installed in 1903, we definitely don’t want to tear up streets if it’s not necessary."

Allman said Metro Water Services' rate increase last year included a sewer infrastructure renewal and a water infrastructure renewal, which are dedicated funds that focus on underground infrastructure.

"This is dedicated funding that is strictly used for water infrastructure rehabilitation and replacement and sewer infrastructure rehabilitation and replacement," she added.

MWS said they do not believe there was any damage to the public water system, and that the overall water and sewer systems are functioning normally.

Watch Metro Water Services' full update below:

According to Metro Nashville police, building and business owners are being escorted inside the protected area between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. First and 2nd Avenues North remain closed.

NC5 partners with Community Foundation to help families affected by explosion

Victims of the Christmas Day bombing can call to 211 and 311 for assistance. From there they will be directed to available resources. They can also contact the Red Cross and continue to get help. You can also donate supplies and other items by going to Community Resource Center of Nashville’s website at