I-Team: First hearing for crumbling concrete bill held virtually

Massachusetts

BOSTON (WWLP) – Crumbling concrete is an issue the 22News I-Team has been covering for months. For the first time, homeowners impacted by crumbling concrete were able to tell their stories directly to lawmakers in a hearing on Tuesday. Some have been waiting years for this hearing.

Dozens of people from Monson, Wales, East Longmeadow and more spoke before the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. The virtual hearing was the first time that lawmakers discussed a bill that would help homeowners who have a crumbling foundation. The bill that would help them get some financial assistance to deal with their crumbling foundations.

“All the work that this project entails is too much for us to fathom. The cost would completely change our retirement. We need your help, please vote to pass this bill,” said Sharon Gagnon of East Longmeadow.

“We would hear loud noises and cracking at night, and we just thought it was our house shifting. Little did we know it was our foundation cracking beneath us,” said Tatiana Dupere of Longmeadow.

Crumbling concrete is 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.

There are five parts to the bill:

  1. Require that quarries in Massachusetts are tested for pyrrhotite
  2. Make tax abatements standardized across the state for homes that test positive
  3. Waive permit fees for the replacement of foundations with pyrrhotite
  4. Require disclosure notices for real estate transactions
  5. Create a fund to help homeowners pay to repair their foundation

“If a tornado went through our communities, which it has in the past, our state, our commonwealth steps up to help people. This type of issue that is occurring is not anyone’s fault, and yet the homeowners are left with a home that is basically worthless,” said State Senator Anne Gobi, a sponsor of the bill.

Congressman Richard Neal showed his support for the bill during the hearing, telling local lawmakers he has spoken to the White House about the impact crumbling concrete is having on homeowners in western and central Massachusetts.

“Homeowners find themselves in this position through no fault of their own. we have to find solutions to lessen their burden,” said Congressman Neal.

Homeowners still have the opportunity to send in written testimony. That can be sent to the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture by emailing JointCommittee.Environment@malegislature.gov.

Resources for Homeowners:

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