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Sporadic construction blasts rattle residents in Germantown and Salemtown

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Posted at 6:10 AM, Nov 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-17 07:19:58-05

Rumblings multiple times a day for weeks in October and November 2021 — that shook residents' homes in Germantown and Salemtown — outraged and scared neighbors, who begged construction companies for blasting schedules.

"The house is shaking. The house is really shaking and the noise is strong and the house shakes," explained eight-year Salemtown homeowner Catherine Epstein. "It's a very interesting noise because it's you hear rumbling noise and it lasts for a few seconds. And yes, it, to me, it felt a little bit like a very strong earthquake almost every time it happens."

After complaints were filed about the blastings, the Tennessee State Fire Marshal went to the neighborhoods to take a reading to ensure the blastings were within regulation.

The maximum decibel level allowed for a neighborhood like Germantown and Salemtown is 140dB and the State Fire Marshal told NewsChannel 5 the readings they took were at 133dB.

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Eight-year Salemtown homeowner Catherine Epstein

While it's comforting to know the companies are operating within what is allowed state-wide, Epstine explained the neighbors' frustration extends to the lack of communication, "The problem we have is that nobody's telling us what's happening, when it is happening and who is doing it."

Germantown Historic Neighborhood Association President Ron Hogan said, "It's mostly the shaking and rattling and you know, rocking and rolling of their homes. You know, we're in Music City, but that wasn't what they're, you know, what they were looking for."

Hogan explaiend he received dozens of questions from residents about when the blastings would occur and ultimately stop.

"The things that we asked them [construction companies] to do was to give us a schedule," recounted Hogan, "And they say, 'Well, it's from something like 11 to one.’ You know, it's you know, I think I'd be a little more specific than those and that would be nice."

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Residents in Nashville's Germantown and Salemtown neighborhoods report several construction blasts each day and beg for a blasting schedule.

While a schedule is not required by state law, informing property owners within 300 feet of the blasting site is. Legislation was proposed in early 2021 to increase that distance to property owners within 1,000 feet.

House Bill 2877 and Senate Bill 2536 were tabled mid-2021, but Tennessee State Representative Terri Weaver told NewsChannel 5 she plans to re-file the bill for the start of the 2022 January session.

In the meantime, the Tennessee State Fire Marshal encourages those with complaints to file them with their office.

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Germantown Historic Neighborhood Association President Ron Hogan

"It's gonna continue to happen. We've got, you know, a huge development at 1st and Jefferson that's coming down the pike," stated Hogan. "We had an open meeting with our neighborhood this past Monday and the question was asked, 'Are there going to, you know, will there be blasting?' His comment was, 'honey, we live in Tennessee.'"

Epstine stressed she knows she lives in a growing city but wants a better relationship between construction companies and the neighborhoods they visit.

"We understand it has to be done," she said, "That's one thing, but I think they should do it with responsibility. And tell the neighbors what's going on and this will stop scaring you because I'm telling you the first time you hear that, you’re scared."

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Residents in Nashville's Germantown and Salemtown neighborhoods report several construction blasts each day and beg for a blasting schedule as the neighborhood continues to grow.