Possible Sewage, Discharge Leaks Into Mill Creek In Davidson Co.

Posted at 3:28 PM, Aug 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-28 19:54:13-04

A mysterious discharge has leaked into Mill Creek on the Davidson and Williamson County line. 

Svan Do used to walk his dog Kay there. 

Do said, "I live over there 15 year. I've been retired from Nissan for 12 years. So I usually walk my dog." 

Do settled down on Waller Road after he was a translator during the Vietnam War. 

Recently, his walks by Mill Creek have been interrupted by a putrid stench.

Do said, "It smell like doo doo. Sheer doo doo, it smells bad." 

According to the Metro Water Department, the grey and black substance s not 100% raw sewage. 

Samples taken from the site show low levels of E Coli, chlorine, detergent, ground water, and bacteria that is sometimes found in human waste.

Rick Olson said, "It's grey, mixed in we've got white, debris, we've got dead worms.."

Olson lives nearby and he's concerned.

Olson said, "Obviously if it tells you right there to not let your animals drink out of it, it can't be too healthy and my neighbor Svan here has a garden that's probably getting some of its water from this creek! That's a problem!" 

There's also a Publix grocery store directly across from the creek on Nolensville Pike at Concord Road.

Olson said, "I'm more concerned about the environmental impact. I think it's wrong." 

Metro Water was investigating to figure out what's causing the problem and where it's coming from.

Until then, Do is keeping his dog far away from the contaminated creek.

Do said, "My dog kept itching!"

The Metro Water Department posted a sign in the area advising neighbors to avoid the area.

Metro Water Services Manager of Strategic Communications Sonia Allman responded with the following statement: 

Unfortunately, we have, to date, been unable to identify the discharge or source.  However, intensive investigation is being done to identify the discharge, determine the source and stop the flow.  We have done almost daily site inspections and/or sampling since mid-July.

Notices were posted along the creek bank to notify residents of the concern as based on odor and appearance, it appears to be a sewer leak, even though we have been unable to confirm such.

The discharge is unusual in several ways.  It does not appear to be a constant flow and is intermittent based on the water table (rainfall) ; The discharge smells of sulfur from a distance and has more if a sewage odor in close proximity; and the coloration of the discharge has been inconsistent.

Multiple samples taken at the discharge location have shown relatively low E. coli levels which is not indicative of sewage.  However, PCR samples have shown elevated levels of human bacteroides. (This test shows both live and dead bacteria; therefore, it does not necessarily prove an active sewage leak.) The sample results also showed detergents and chorine present in the sample which are typically not detected in sewer main leaks.

The 30" sewer main in the area has been plugged and televised for breaks and/or cracks. The inspection found ground water entering the sewer at several joints.  Cost estimates are being obtained now to correct the defect and a contract for the work will be expedited.  We have also performed numerous dye tests on surrounding infrastructure including bathrooms and sewer service lines of area businesses and area septic tanks.  In each of these tests, there was no evidence of the dye entering Mill Creek.

Due to the elevated chlorine levels, we have also done water leak investigations and have been unable to locate any water leaks. (The theory was that a water line leak could potentially be liberating possible material held in the soil from any old septic tanks nearby).

We are also investigating sewer mains in surrounding areas as it may be possible that a leak could be French draining down the gravel pipe bedding of the 30" sewer main and discharging to the creek at the current location.

We will continue investigating until we are able to determine the source of the discharge and eliminate it.