Cassano Calls For Unified Approach to Address Crumbling Home Foundations
At an informational hearing today in Hartford regarding the troubling and expensive issue of crumbling concrete home foundations in northern and eastern Connecticut, state Senator Steve Cassano (D-Manchester) said all stakeholders—business and home owners, town leaders, banks, insurance companies, private-sector contractors and state government—have to work together to address the problem and not work at cross-purposes.
“The time for studying the cause of this problem is over. Right now we have to learn the extent of the problem, whether we’re dealing with a thousand homes, ten thousand homes or thirty thousand homes. That’s going to make an enormous difference in how we approach making these home and business owners whole and how we go about saving the biggest investment of their lives: their real estate,” Sen. Cassano said. “And we have to do this in a nonpartisan manner, bringing everyone with a stake in the value of these homes and businesses together to understand that they all have something to lose, and something to gain, by fixing this problem. The state has a role in helping its residents, but we’re not in a position to write blank checks. There has to be a balanced approached where the financial impact is shared by many.”
Sen. Cassano made his comments today at an hours-long informational hearing hosted by the legislature’s Planning and Development Committee, where he serves as Co-Chair.
All four of the towns that Sen. Cassano represents in the General Assembly—Manchester, Glastonbury, Bolton and Andover—have experienced crumbling foundations.
Sen. Cassano’s comments also come just one day after the State Bond Commission approved $5 million in state funding to conduct a foundation testing program in northeastern Connecticut to determine the extent of the foundation problems. Homeowners are eligible for a 50 percent reimbursement of up to $2,000 for pyrrhotite testing of two core samples within their home’s foundation. Homeowners who have already experienced foundation deterioration may choose to have a licensed inspector make a visual inspection of the foundation. Visual inspections will be 100 percent reimbursed up to $400. The program will provide testing for all applicants with houses built since 1983 within a 20 mile radius of the J.J. Mottes Concrete Company in Stafford Springs.
At today’s informational hearing, concrete producers, home builders, citizen action groups, town leaders, legislators and consumer advocates joined together to discuss the scope of the crumbling foundations problem, and began to try and reconcile some of the myriad legislative bills that have been introduced to address the problem.
A second informational hearing featuring town tax assessors, realtors, state and federal agencies such as OPM and FEMA, and representatives from the banking and insurance industries is also in the planning stages.
The crumbling foundations are caused by the presence of the mineral pyrrhotite in the concrete aggregate used to pour the foundations, though the minimum amount of pyrrhotite needed to trigger deterioration is not yet known. Pyrrhotite rusts when exposed to air and water, which causes foundations to crack and deteriorate.
It is believed that pyrrhotite could be present in thousands—or perhaps tens of thousands—of home and business foundations poured between 1983 and 2010 in Hartford, Tolland and Windham Counties by the Joseph J. Mottes Company of Stafford using concrete aggregate from Becker’s Quarry in Willington.
More than 450 homeowners have filed crumbling foundation complaints with the state Department of Consumer Protection, but the problem is believed to affect many, many more property owners.
More than a dozen legislative bills have been filed in an attempt to address the situation, including:
- HB 5211 An Act Requiring That Concrete Be Tested For Pyrrhotite
- HB 5752 An Act Concerning Pyrrhotite In Concrete Used In Foundations
- HB 5866 An Act Prohibiting The Recycling And Reuse Of Defective Concrete
- HB 6005 An Act Authorizing Bonds Of The State To Establish A Fund To Assist Homeowners With Crumbling Foundations
- HB 6464 An Act Concerning An Investigation Into Methods Of Remediating Failing Concrete Foundations
- HB 6465 An Act Concerning Pyrrhotite Testing By Quarries
- HB 6478 An Act Concerning Failing Concrete Foundations
- HB 6945 An Act Concerning Quality Control Plans For Companies That Sell Concrete Aggregate
- HB 6738 An Act Concerning Deficiency Judgments And Crumbling Foundations
- HB 6939 An Act Concerning Urban Blight And Structurally Compromised Foundations
- SB 456 An Act Concerning Aid For Homeowners With Failing Foundations
- SB 459 An Act Concerning Failing Concrete Foundations
- SB 00534 An Act Concerning Crumbling Concrete Foundations