Crumbling foundations coalition calls for federal investigation - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Crumbling foundations coalition calls for federal investigation

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Homeowners said a mineral called Pyrrhotite, an iron-sulfide possibly mined from a local quarry and mixed to make cement, is to blame for the crumbling foundations. (WFSB) Homeowners said a mineral called Pyrrhotite, an iron-sulfide possibly mined from a local quarry and mixed to make cement, is to blame for the crumbling foundations. (WFSB)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB/AP) -

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy says he'll propose a state-funded program to test houses in eastern Connecticut to get a better handle on how many homeowners are experiencing failing foundations.

The Democrat said Wednesday that having a more accurate count could help the state in persuading the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide financial assistance to help fix what's considered to be a naturally occurring event.

Malloy wants to spend $5 million to test homes that could be affected, to figure out how big the problem really is.

"One of the things that I need is to have a better idea of how many homes are impacted and therefore we need a broader testing program in our discussion with the federal government," Malloy said.

Hundreds of eastern Connecticut homeowners have filed complaints about crumbling foundations.

On Wednesday, the president of the Connecticut Coalition Against Crumbling Basements Tim Heim said he plans to seek a federal investigation into this issue. He said he doesn't need a test to show that he's a victim in this epidemic.

"If you look behind me you can see that I have a problem and it is a chemical reaction caused by pyrrhotite," Heim said. "I'm gonna take every avenue I possibly can to come up with some type of financial resolution for the victims."

The problem has been traced to a quarry that produced a concrete mix containing an iron sulfide mineral that has apparently reacted with oxygen and water. The reaction has led to severe cracks in foundations that are very expensive to repair.

Malloy said he believes if the state can prove tens of thousands of Connecticut homes have failing foundations, that FEMA may step in with federal aid. 

But Heim believes the state money would be going to the wrong place.

“He is offering $5 million for testing that is not needed. What needs to happen, that $5 million needs to go towards the victims that have the problem now,” Heim said.

He believes that $5 million could help 25 people who are in even more dire need than himself.

Malloy says he understands that victims want money right away but feels confident the federal government needs to do more to help with the problem.

Representatives with the governor's office say there are also other avenues being explored to help.

The final report from the state was released last week. More can be found here.

Malloy is expected to unveil his new two-year budget Feb. 8.

Copyright 2016 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.