SOUTHWICK, Mass. (WWLP) – A bill is currently being considered by the State Senate Ways and Means Committee that would help people pay to get a crumbling foundation repaired. At least four members of that Committee are from districts where foundations have tested positive for the mineral that causes concrete to crumble.
“This is a devastating issue for families that have been impacted,” said State Senator Eric Lesser. “Quite frankly at this point, they’ve been waiting a really long time.”
Lesser is on the State Senate Ways and Means Committee that’s currently considering the future of the crumbling concrete bill. It would help homeowners pay to get their foundations fixed – something that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, is not covered by insurance, and leaves the house pretty much worthless.
An amendment added to the bill would make it so insurance companies would have to pay if they previously denied or rejected claims for a crumbling foundation at any time from 2000 to 2021.
State Senators Michael Moore, Ryan Fattman and Anne Gobi are also on the Ways and Means Committee. The three of them, and Lesser, are sponsors of the bill.
An Act addressing crumbling concrete foundations
“The crumbling concrete legislation that is before the Senate Ways and Means Committee is crucial to protecting the wealth building ability of families that are affected by these concrete issues. For many, a house is their largest asset, and if families discover their homes were built with pyrrhotite concrete, the value of their asset diminishes to almost nothing. A home is a family’s best opportunity to build wealth, so we must provide an avenue to rectify these problems. I am working with members of the Ways and Means Committee to move the bill along to ensure that we do all we can to help people that have been so consequentially affected by crumbling foundations.”
In a statement to the 22News I-Team from Senator Fattman
Pyrrhotite Crumbling Foundation
Pyrrhotite has been found in homes as far west as Southwick and stretching all the way up to Athol and Ashburnham, and east over to Grafton. Many communities offer tax abatements to homeowners with crumbling concrete, which costs local governments, too.
“These are the taxes that support schools, police, fire, sanitation services. If you have a large number of homes getting taken off the tax roll, it’s going to create a big problem for these towns,” Lesser explained.
It was originally thought that the tainted concrete came from a single quarry in Connecticut, poured by the now-defunct company JJ Mottes in Stafford Springs. But, the 22News I-Team has confirmed that at least two homes with crumbling foundations in central Massachusetts did not get their concrete from JJ Mottes. That means there is at least one other company in the area with pyrrhotite in their aggregate.
“This is going to be way bigger than it was in Connecticut where there was one known source,” explained Michelle Loglisci, whose Monson home tested positive for pyrrhotite. “Now, we have that (source) plus our own. The number of homes affected in Massachusetts is going to be far greater.”
Pyrrhotite turns into a rusty color. It causes concrete to expand once it’s exposed to oxygen and water, eventually causing the cracks. Part of the bill would require that quarries in Massachusetts are tested for the mineral.
All of the red areas on the above map are where it could naturally occur in this area. If there is a quarry over one of those areas, the concrete aggregate would likely contain pyrrhotite.
“This is a serious state issue that needs to be addressed and cannot be delayed any longer,” said Loglisci.
She was quoted at $263,000 to fix her foundation. She has been pushing for the crumbling concrete bill to pass to help homeowners in her same situation.
A similar bill was passed in Connecticut. Over three years, the state has been able to help 500 families replace their foundations, the majority of them at no cost to the homeowner.