LONGMEADOW, Mass. (WWLP) – Homeowners in dozens of communities across western and central Massachusetts are dealing with crumbling concrete.
It’s a devastating and expensive issue. Homeowners and lawmakers are fighting for help from the state so they can fix their homes now deemed worthless because of crumbling concrete foundations.
Crumbling concrete has been found in homes as far west as Southwick, stretching all the way up to Athol and Ashburnham, and east over to Grafton.
The cracks are caused by pyrrhotite – a naturally occurring mineral in the concrete that causes it to slowly deteriorate as it’s exposed to oxygen and water. The only way to fix it is through a process that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars and is not covered by insurance.
Lawmakers are considering two bills, one that would help homeowners pay to have their foundations tested. The other bill would require that quarries in Massachusetts are tested for pyrrhotite so this doesn’t continue to be an issue in the future.
“We want to make sure quarries are testing, and that they’re safe,” said State Rep. Brian Ashe. “We don’t want somebody’s home, a large business, a structure, anywhere people go to be compromised.”
Both bills were just passed by the State Senate as amendments to the budget. They now wait for approval from the House, and eventually Governor Maura Healey.
State Senator Anne Gobi has been a huge champion for homeowners that have been impacted by this issue. She sponsored both bill. Now, she recently accepted a new position in the Healey Administration.
Rep. Ashe, a co-chair with Gobi on a commission the state created to study the impact of crumbling concrete, says they will continue to fight for homeowners with crumbling foundations.
“She passed her bills on to Senator Moore who I’ve worked with in the past,” Rep. Ashe said. “He’s great, he understands this issue. I know he will be a champion just as much. Things like this happen. People leave the House, they leave the Senate. But, it doesn’t mean their bills die.”
Senator Gobi’s last day will be June 4th.
Resources for homeowners:
In Connecticut where crumbling foundations have also been a huge problem, there is a fund to help homeowners pay for a new foundation. So far, the state has given out millions of dollars to help repair homes in the northeast part of the state. It’s paid for through a $12 surcharge on everyone’s homeowner’s insurance.