(29 Jul 2019) This house in Vernon, Connecticut looks fine from the street, but a look inside tells a different story.
The concrete holding up this house and thousands of others in Connecticut and Massachusetts contains a brownish iron sulfide called pyrrhotite (pronounced “pier uh tite”).
The pyrrhotite reacts with water and oxygen over the years and causes the concrete to crumble.
It’s an expensive problem.
After years of lobbying by homeowners, the state has now created a fund to pay up to 175-thousand dollars toward the cost of replacing a home’s crumbling foundation, with the homeowner picking up the rest of the tab.
It costs between 150 and 350-thousand dollars to replace a home foundation.
Across eastern Connecticut homes are being raised – more than a hundred this summer alone – as construction crews replace the foundations on the worst hit.
FEMA and most home insurance companies have refused to pay for what many homeowners describe as a natural disaster.
“I mean it is no different than a flood that comes every 500 years,” said homeowner Peter Brenn, whose home in Willington, Connecticut, underwent a foundation replacement in June and July. “You know the state was able to, thank God, step in.”
Brenn has had to put in thousands of dollars of his own money, but he is happy that his home – like many people, his biggest investment – will not go to waste.
It takes under two months to replace a concrete foundation, so elevated homes like this could be a familiar site here for years to come as policy makers try to figure out the scope of the problem, and come up with the money to fix the thousands of more homes that will deteriorate over time.
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