In pyrrhotite-contaminated foundations, moisture migrating through the wall causes the mineral to rust and expand, causing the foundation to crack and spall until the wall eventually collapses. The only fix is to replace the entire foundation.

A Connecticut legislative working group has released a new quality control plan for quarries in light of the crumbling foundations problem afflicting many eastern Connecticut and Central Massachusetts homeowners.

The General Assembly’s Quarries Working Group, which has been meeting since September, also studied the workforce currently available to help homeowners repair their foundations. The concrete has been deteriorating because of the presence of an iron sulfide called pyrrhotite that’s been traced to a quarry in Wilmington, Connecticut.

A Massachusetts task force included recommendations for such a testing program in its own proposal to address the contamination that could affect up to 2,000 homes and cost the state $350 million to remedy.

Moisture migrating through the wall causes the pyrrhotite, an iron sulfide, to rust and expand, causing the foundation to crack and spall until the wall eventually collapses. The only fix is to replace the foundation, which costs between $150,000 and $250,000. While not all foundations contaminated with pyrrhotite deteriorate, research has not found a minimum safe level of the mineral.

“This report helps give guidelines and direction to the numerous individuals working to assist those impacted by concrete foundations,” said Connecticut state Sen. Saud Anwar, D-South Windsor, a working group member.

The Model Quality Control Plan recommends quarry operators producing concrete aggregate provide Geological Source Reports to the Connecticut State Geologist. These reports would be prepared by a certified geologist and document the mining, processing, storage and quality control methods used by an aggregate producer.

The quality control plan also calls for aggregate to be tested to measure sulfur content in a quarry and determine the existence of pyrrhotite. Depending on the amount identified, the aggregate would be approved for use for four years; not be permitted for concrete use; or require additional testing.

Meanwhile, task force members determined the current workforce of contractors helping homeowners with the needed repairs is adequate for current demand, as well as a potential increase in demand in the future.

However, during a hearing last week, some contractors told task force members their work has been delayed in some communities where there are only part-time inspectors or offices that are closed on certain days of the week. There were suggestions of possibly using state inspectors, inspectors from other communities or contracted inspectors to help approve plans so work can commence.

Besides finding a way to expand inspection options, the study also recommend that affected homeowners should be better educated in how to obtain state financial assistance and choose a contractor, as well as what to expect during the repair process, which typically involves lifting up a home and replacing the entire foundation.

To Prevent More Crumbling Foundations, CT Could Monitor Quarries

by The Associated Press time to read: 2 min