Fall has brought a flurry of amendments, visits, at least one bridge failure and increased contemplation of the CT crumbling basement issue—but no money and no repairs for those most affected by this epidemic.
Three amendments passed the U.S. House of Representatives in September regarding the failing foundation epidemic. In a nutshell: Community Block Grants, more testing for pyrrhotite and the possible deduction of repair expenses from federal income taxes.
I was slightly hopeful about an IRS solution in terms of at least capturing some of the money spent for repair or for losses when a property sells for far below its purchase price and former value. However, this conversation took place between Congressmen Joe Courtney and John Larson and U.S. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, who is one of many in the Trump administration under investigation for using taxpayer dollars for chartered flights—he could be gone next week on Firing Friday.
The Jones Crossing Road Bridge in Coventry is likely a victim of the crumbling concrete issue. The bridge is currently open to only one lane traffic until it is replaced. The bridge was originally built in the 1930’s but widened in the 80’s. The original concrete is fine and structurally sound but the widened section of the bridge has failed.
I think the continued failure of bridges and specifically the failure of buildings at UConn may be the tipping point and bring much needed attention and potential remedies for homeowners.
Most recently Governor Malloy held a news briefing regarding the budget stalemate and the recent visit from FEMA and Army Corps of Engineers to CT to gather information regarding the crumbling basement epidemic. Most of the talk regarded protecting future homeowners from this problem and establishing and enforcing acceptable guidelines for future aggregate and suppliers. Malloy stated that he thought the visit was enlightening to the FEMA and Army Corps as to the scope of the problem and he added that he is continuing to request that FEMA recognize this as the natural disaster that it is.
On October 16th there is a public hearing in Coventry where on behalf of Coventry, Ashford, Tolland, Willington, Columbia, Union and Bolton, the Town of Coventry will apply for a $250,000 block grant for crumbling foundation testing.
Personally, it think it is fruitless to allocate more dollars to testing to confirm the obvious and overwhelming fact that indeed your home is crumbling beneath you, regardless of the percentage of pyrrhotite or stage of oxidation present. These findings will be beneficial to future homeowners and builders but of no value to those suffering right now.
For more information on this subject I recommend the Capitol Region Council of Governments CROGG website and Coalition Against Crumbling Basements FB page. If you have confirmed that you have a crumbling basement you should file a complaint with the Department of Consumer Protection as the more the better when trying for a FEMA declaration.