BOSTON — On Thursday, the State Senate voted to approve a budget amendment proposed by Senator Eric P. Lesser to create a commission on the crumbling concrete foundations affecting homeowners in several towns throughout Western Massachusetts.
The commission will identify the extent of how many homeowners across the state are affected, the financial impact for cities and towns and how lawmakers can assist homeowners.
Many homeowners in Western and Central Massachusetts have come forward to notify officials that the foundations of their houses are crumbling. Investigative reports in Connecticut, where the problem first surfaced, have linked the faulty concrete to a quarry owned by JJ Mottes, a company that closed in 2017.
The concrete from that quarry was contaminated with pyrrhotite, a mineral that reacts with water and air, causing concrete to crack and fissure.
Now, there is no company to hold accountable and home insurance companies refuse to pay for repairs because language inserted into their policies only covers full collapse, not the risk of collapse.
“People are stuck in a terrible situation. They are being told that their most precious asset — the home they saved for and built equity in — now has no value,” said Sen. Lesser. “We need to figure out how extensive this problem is in our state, how many homes are affected, so that we can begin to provide relief and assistance to homeowners.”
The amendment is one of two included in the Senate budget to address the issue of crumbling concrete foundations.
The other, introduced by Sen. Anne Gobi of Spencer, creates a reimbursement program for homeowners who need to test their foundations for contaminated concrete, which can cost thousands of dollars.
“I am glad to join with Senator Lesser to bring increased attention to this horrific problem. This Commission will be instrumental in assessment and finding workable solutions to the complex problems that have been created for so many homeowners,” said Sen. Anne Gobi (D-Spencer).
Both amendments will be included in the Senate version of the budget, which will be negotiated with House members before a final budget proposal is sent to the governor’s desk.