October 20, 2016

Malloy to FEMA: Help CT cope with crumbling foundations

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has asked federal regulators to assess the damage caused by crumbling foundations in some 43,130 homes in Connecticut after an earlier inquiry failed to get their attention.

Malloy on Wednesday asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to establish a field office in northeastern Connecticut and conduct a preliminary damage assessment on the properties with foundations that are at risk of crumbling and collapsing due to what the state believes is the result of a natural disaster.

In a letter to FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, Malloy states that potentially tens of thousands of Connecticut residents are at risk, and that federal expertise is critical to the ongoing efforts by state and local governments, and a coalition of insurance companies that are working to address the problem.

An earlier attempt to get FEMA's attention failed because, informally, FEMA said the issue did not appear to constitute an emergency or major disaster.

"Since that time of our informal request to FEMA Region 1, we have further scientific information that this potentially catastrophic damage appears to be the result of a natural disaster - specifically the reaction of a naturally occurring mineral, pyrrhotite, to oxygen and water," Malloy said.

Pyrrhotite is an iron sulfide mineral, which, when reacting with oxygen and water leads to deterioration of the structures it is contained in, he said.

Neither the state or federal regulators address standards for the percentage of pyrrhotite allowed in aggregate used for residential or commercial foundations, he added.

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