Homeowners with crumbling foundations could see relief thanks to state budget

(WTNH) — For most people, their homes are their biggest investment. For hundreds, possibly thousands of homeowners in northeastern Connecticut, a crumbling foundation could cause big problems.

In Thursday’s budget deal, the state legislature took the first step toward helping these homeowners out.

It’s been a while since Vince Perrachio slept soundly inside his Willington home. His foundation is crumbling, with huge cracks you can fit your hand, or even a cell phone, in.

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“It’s come to the point that I’m not so sure we’ll make it through the winter,” Perrachio said.

The first reported issue of a crumbling foundation was about 20 years ago. A state investigation found an iron sulfide material called pyrrhotite is to blame. When air and water seep into the concrete over time, the mineral swells and expands, leading to the severe cracking.

Now, after nearly two decades, the state legislature is stepping in to provide some relief. In the budget deal that just passed, $20 million over the next four years will go toward testing and identifying affected homes, setting standards for concrete, and replacing basement walls.

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Representative Jurt Vail represents Stafford and Somers, two towns impacted by the crumbling walls.

“It’s everything we wanted from the beginning,” he said. “It’s pretty encouraging, there’s some real money there.”

Vail believes it’s a significant first step towards making the northeast corner whole, something the affected homeowners agree with.

“I have guarded optimism. No one has signed anything. That’s the way I look at it. I hope everything will go through, but we know the wheels of government work slowly sometimes,” Perrachio said.

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