WILLINGTON, Conn. (WWLP) – The foundations at Willington Ridge Condos, located south of Wales over the state line in Connecticut, tested positive for pyrrhotite – a naturally occurring mineral that causes concrete to crack when it’s exposed to oxygen and water. The concrete has to be replaced.
The fix includes lifting the house up off the bad concrete, digging it out, pouring in a new foundation, then dropping the house back down. Foundation replacement company Foundation Solutions of NE, LLC uses hydraulic jacks to lift the structure up about 14 inches at a time until it’s six feet off the ground.
“Once it’s up six feet, we can get our equipment in there and pull out all the footings, the frost walls,” said Sue Toomey, the operations manager at Foundation Solutions.
It’s a very expensive process. Quotes range anywhere from $100,00 to $300,000 for a single-family home. Connecticut has a fund that helps homeowners pay to have their foundations replaced. Toomey was one of the first in the state to have her home’s foundation fixed in 2019. The state covered the $115,000 cost to get a new foundation.
“I don’t even think about it anymore,” Toomey said. “Just the fact that you can sleep at night knowing that everything is back to the way it was. It’s just peace of mind, and that is worth going through the few months of chaos.”
Connecticut will cover up to $190,000 for a foundation replacement. A portion of that is paid for by a $12 surcharge on everyone’s homeowner’s insurance. Over three years, the state has been able to help hundreds of families replace their foundations.
“Just four miles away, I don’t have that option,” said Michelle Loglisci, whose Monson home tested positive for pyrrhotite.
She was quoted at $263,000 to fix it. She’s one of potentially thousands of homeowners in Hampden and Worcester counties dealing with the same issue, with no end in sight.
“My life is still on hold – me and thousands of other people here in the state, we’re literally in limbo. we can’t do anything,” Loglisci explained. “We can’t move. People who want to change jobs and have this can’t sell their houses. We can’t retire like we planned to. It’s just life-altering.”
She has been fighting for legislation that’s currently in front of the State Senate Ways and Means Committee to pass here in Massachusetts. Part of the bill would help homeowners pay to get their foundations fixed and would test quarries for pyrrhotite.
“We’re not going to accept this,” Loglisci said. “We need the state to do something. we now have people concerned about their foundations all the way up to the New Hampshire border.”
It was originally thought that the tainted concrete came from a single quarry in Connecticut. But, the I-Team has been able to confirm at least one Massachusetts company also has used concrete with pyrrhotite in it.
Right now, the only help offered by Massachusetts is testing reimbursement. Homeowners can get a visual test done, and up to $400 back. For core testing, homeowners can get up to $5,000 back.