A foul odor is taking over a Hermitage neighborhood, making it hard for neighbors to step outside, much less breathe easy inside their homes, and the stink is coming from a Metro Water construction site.
One neighbor wears a mask to breathe through the strong stench, and she hasn't enjoyed her front porch in a couple weeks.
"Rotten eggs. It's like a gas smell, and it's just overwhelming," said neighbor Linda Beal-Ruffino.
The smell in the neighborhood between Old Hickory Boulevard and Lebanon Pike is drifting from sewage in the round tanks at one of Metro Water Services' equalization facilities nearby.
"My brother was gagging the other day when he came out here," said neighbor Rick Cofield. "And we were thinking about moving if the smell would continue."
Metro Water spokeswoman Sonia Harvat acknowledges the department failed to notify residents but says the expansion for more storage was necessary.
"It is part of our Clean Water Nashville project that we are doing to mitigate or eliminate sewer overflows into the Cumberland River," Harvat said.
To do so, crews let sewage sit for a week to test the tanks for leaks. Then, two weeks ago, they started draining the septic contents.
"That box doesn't have its permanent top installed on it. So, as that sewage that smells worse than usual moves through there, some of those odors are able to escape," Harvat said.
Crews are waiting on a cap for the drain, but they did hang air fresheners to make it more bearable outside.
Metro Water Services says the smell should get better in about a week. Construction on the expansion project will wrap up next month.
From that point, the sewage in the tanks will be diluted with rainwater and permanent caps will be in place.
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