On four-year anniversary of flood, Nashville looks to prevention - WSMV Channel 4

On four-year anniversary of flood, Nashville looks for prevention

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The Cumberland River overflowed its banks in early May 2010. The Cumberland River overflowed its banks in early May 2010.
Water damaged the Opryland Resort in May 2010 and forced Opry Mills Mall to close for more than two years. Water damaged the Opryland Resort in May 2010 and forced Opry Mills Mall to close for more than two years.
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Many in Middle Tennessee are remembering the rising water that submerged much of Nashville and surrounding communities beginning four years ago Thursday.

While everyone hopes we never see flooding like that again, the reality is it could happen any time there's a substantial amount of rain.

"But if you get that amount of rain in 36 hours, we're going to have problems. There's no question about it, and I don't know there is anything that can be done to totally make the city immune from damage when you have a rainfall of that magnitude," said Nashville Mayor Karl Dean.

We were reminded of that fact last summer when flash flooding washed away homes and businesses in Madison as nearly 8" of rain fell in a 12-hour period.

Steve Kaeseman finds himself watching the forecast often.

"Unless there's real low chance, we start picking stuff up," said Kaeseman, a Madison homeowner.

In the past five years, his home has flood four times. The worst came in August 2013 when three feet filled his home.

"It was a preventable flood if Metro would improve the storm water run off and the railroad wouldn't throw railroad ties in the creek," he said.

Metro Water Services spokeswoman Sonia Harvat says Nashville's storm water infrastructure is simply not designed to handle the amount of flow it saw in 2010 and again in 2013.

"A lot of work is being done. A lot of work has been done. Much of that was even done before the 2010 flood. One thing people really need to understand about storm water is we are never going to be finished," Harvat said.

There are more than 2,400 miles of streams in Davidson County, and to help manage all that water Nashville's storm infrastructure is full of thousands of miles of pipes, culverts and channels.

Harvat says those always need to be maintained and sometimes replaced.

"May 2010, August 2013, even something as small as this past Monday and Tuesday makes our phone ring any time there is water. Nashville has a lot of water. We have a lot of creeks and streams, which means when we have a lot of rain, many of those areas comes out of their banks," Harvat said.

Still, for those like Kaeseman, Metro's efforts bring no comfort water won't creep toward his home again.

"We'll just do what we can. People will keep paying money for it. We'll just do what we can do," he said.

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