WALES, Mass. (WWLP) – The 22News I-Team has been investigating the impact crumbling concrete is having on homeowners in western and central Massachusetts. The I-Team has confirmed that at least two homeowners in central Massachusetts with crumbling foundations did not get their concrete from the Connecticut company that is known to have pyrrhotite in their aggregate.
A Crumbling Future
Mike Milanese’s home in Wales has crumbling concrete.
“It is rock when it starts, but once the air hits it, it becomes powder,” Milanese explains.
The 22News I-Team first visited his home in June of 2021. Since then, he’s added two logs that are acting as braces to keep his walls from spreading.
“It’s my Yankee ingenuity,” Milanese said. “I don’t know if it’s really doing anything. It’s making me feel better a little bit.”
“We don’t have forever to wait. People need help and they need it now,” said Michelle Loglisci, who has been advocating for help for homeowners with crumbling concrete since her house in Monson tested positive for pyrrhotite a few years ago.
Pyrrhotite is what makes concrete crack and crumble when it’s exposed to water and oxygen. It appears as red, rust-colored flakes in concrete.
To fix a crumbling foundation, the home has to be lifted up onto stilts, then the old concrete has to be dug out and replaced with new concrete. Loglisci was quoted at $263,000 dollars to fix her foundation. A bill being considered now by the state’s Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture would help homeowners like her cover the costs to get a new foundation.
“This issue is not going to go away,” Loglisci explained. “It’s not going to fix itself. It’s an extremely expensive fix. You can’t just patch it and think it’s gone because it’s inside the walls, putting pressure on your sills and lifting your house.”
Another part of the bill would require that quarries in Massachusetts are tested for pyrrhotite.
Loglisci says there’s real concern that quarries in Massachusetts contain pyrrhotite, and it’s still being used today.
“Eventually, we will see that this issue affects homes right up through New England. It is in Canada. They have replaced foundations there. It is in Connecticut. We’re in between,” Loglisci said.
The I-Team has confirmed that at least two homes that tested positive for pyrrhotite in central Massachusetts used concrete that was not from the now-defunct Connecticut company, JJ Mottes in Stafford Springs, that is known to have used pyrrhotite in their aggregate.
“This is going to happen to a lot of houses, not necessarily today or tomorrow. It’s a 20 year cycle,” explained Milanese. “So, this could be going on for the next 15 years and people won’t know until it happens.”
Both Loglisci and Milanese are asking any homeowners that think they have a crumbling foundation to come forward as soon as possible.
“Just a small group of people, they don’t want to hear about that in Boston. They need big numbers and we’re trying to get that to them,” said Milanese. “That’s why I’m in my basement with you and with everybody else that’s been in my basement. We’ve opened a lot of eyes to it. We have our fingers crossed for March 31st. We are hoping for the best.”
The bill’s reporting date has been extended to March 31st.
Michelle Loglisci explains what kinds of cracks to look out for in your concrete and foundation.