State to create $6 million fund for testing crumbling foundations

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HARTFORD — The state of Connecticut will ask the bonding commission to create a $5 million fund for testing of foundations that are crumbling, and allocate an additional $1 million to help low and moderate income home owners pay for the tests.

Governor Dannel Malloy said Monday he will ask the State Bond Commission for $5 million as part of the state’s ongoing efforts to assist homeowners in northeastern Connecticut with the deteriorating foundations of their homes. The funding will be used to provide testing and inspections of foundations in order to better understand the extent of the problem while also assisting property owners with the costs related to testing. Also, the Connecticut Department of Housing is planning to allocate an additional $1 million in federal block grant funding to further assist low and moderate-income homeowners and help offset these testing costs.

“It is vital that local, state, and federal government – along with private sector partners – work together to both understand the scope of this problem, and to help those whose homes are affected,” Governor Malloy said.  “Providing financial assistance for the testing of foundations in these communities is a logical first step.  It will help us better inform our federal partners about the scope of this situation and garner their support for additional aid. ”

Foundations in homes in the Northeast part of the state are crumbling as a result of the reaction of a naturally occurring mineral, pyrrhotite, to oxygen and water. According to the state, Pyrrhotite is an iron sulfide mineral, and it is exposed  to oxygen and water, a chemical reaction results in deterioration of home foundations.  Pyrrhotite may be present in the concrete, but the state said it does not necessarily cause it. A visual inspection will determine it’s presence for some homes. Sometimes, if a home has an existing deterioration, the existence of pyrrhotite can be determined by visual inspection alone, because of a unique cracking pattern.

Under the program announced Monday, homeowners will be eligible for a 50 percent reimbursement, up to $2,000, for the testing of two core samples within their home.  Homeowners who have visual testing conducted by a licensed professional engineer will be eligible for a 100 percent reimbursement – up to $400.  The program will provide testing for applicants with homes built since 1983 and that are within a 20-mile radius of the J.J. Mottes Concrete Company in Stafford Springs. The fund will be administered by the Capitol Region Council of Governments, and they will provide quarterly reports to the state.

The Connecticut Department of Housing’s $1 million in federal block grant funding from the federal Housing and Urban Development department will further assist low and moderate-income homeowners and help offset these testing costs. The program will prioritize assistance for low and moderate-income homeowners who are affected by this problem.

Additional information for homeowners interested in the program will be announced in the coming weeks.