NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — While city leaders are thankful the Christmas Day explosion in Nashville didn’t cost any innocent lives, there are new concerns about the cost of damage hidden underground. In particular: clay sewer pipes under the explosion site more than a century old.
Metro councilman Bob Mendes got an email from Metro Water about the potential damage this afternoon.
Important update to Council from @NashvilleMWS... pic.twitter.com/fseY9VEHpd— Bob Mendes (@mendesbob) December 29, 2020
"They are going to have to send cameras down to tell the extent of the damage," Mendes said Tuesday. "They were definitely giving a warning that some of the pipes under there are as old as 1903 and if you start having to dig around there, are we going to have to do a lot of replacing?"
Metro Water Service told council members Tuesday portions of Second Avenue may need to be excavated to make the repairs if the clay sewer pipes are indeed broken. That would be costly. Mendes says it’s unclear if any federal disaster money could help pay for those repairs, especially because the federal government hasn't yet approved Tennessee’s emergency request.
"It's way too early to know about that, the devil would be in the details," Mendes said. "First of all, you would need to qualify as a federal emergency zone in order to have access to federal funds and then, typically a city would have to spend the money first and then get reimbursed later for emergency damages."
Metro Water Services says they can’t get access to much of the area yet — it remains a federal crime scene. But they say they don’t believe there was any damage to the city’s water system.