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Worthless Connecticut Homes Crumble
Wednesday, 08 June 2016

With Connecticut Foundations Crumbling, ‘Your Home Is Now Worthless’ 
Across nearly 20 towns in northeastern Connecticut, a slow-motion disaster is unfolding, as local officials and homeowners wrestle with an extraordinary phenomenon. Hundreds, possibly thousands, of home foundations that have been poured since the 1980s are cracking, with fissures so large you can slip a hand inside. “This is such an emotional roller coaster,” said Tim Heim, a homeowner who started the group Connecticut Coalition Against Crumbling Basements.

With Connecticut Foundations Crumbling, ‘Your Home Is Now Worthless’
  
   Mike Halloran in the basement of his home in Ellington, Conn. Mr. Halloran is a plaintiff in
   a class-action lawsuit  that accuses insurers of a “concerted scheme” to deny coverage to
   homeowners whose foundations are cracking. Credit Jessica Hill for The New York Times

STAFFORD SPRINGS, Conn. — Sandra Miller was at work in January when her daughter called from their home here on Oakridge Drive with alarming news. The house was making loud noises, as if someone had jumped off the counter and landed with a bang. For seconds afterward, the house shook.

A while later, it happened again, and again. Over the next several hours, terrifying bangs rattled the house. The next morning, Ms. Miller called Bill Neal, a structural engineer, who delivered the same stunning assessment to her that he has now told hundreds of homeowners: The concrete foundation was crumbling and, as a result, her house was gradually collapsing. Across nearly 20 towns in northeastern Connecticut, a slow-motion disaster is unfolding, as local officials and homeowners wrestle with an extraordinary phenomenon. Hundreds, possibly thousands, of home foundations that have been poured since the 1980s are cracking, with fissures so large you can slip a hand inside.

“This is such an emotional roller coaster,” said Tim Heim, a homeowner who started the group Connecticut Coalition Against Crumbling Basements. “You can’t eat, you can’t sleep. When you’re told your home is now worthless and your biggest investment is now worthless, it’s devastating.”

The scope of the problem is so vast that state officials have begun an investigation, and they recently announced that the crumbling foundations had been traced to a quarry business and a related concrete maker, which have agreed to stop selling their products for residential use. The stone aggregate used in the concrete mixture has high levels of pyrrhotite, an iron sulfide mineral that can react with oxygen and water to cause swelling and cracking. Over the past 30 years, the quarry has provided concrete for as many as 20,000 houses.
Continue reading the main story.

As officials continue their investigation, the cascade of crumbling foundations poses a thicket of legal, emotional and financial issues and has prompted the state to create an official web page dedicated to the problem. Connecticut is also seeking help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“It’s the psychological toll of the uncertainty,” said Jonathan A. Harris, the commissioner of the State Consumer Protection Department.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/08/nyregion/with-connecticut-foundations-crumbling-your-home-is-now-worthless.html?_r=0

 
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