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Pyrrhotite: The Looming Disaster in Mass & Conn Homes
Posted by: MrNoBody
Date: December 29, 2018 01:03PM
I just recently read an article on this issue but I don't recall the 'national media' covering it.

Quote
Massachusetts Insurance News -
The best estimates have almost 35,000 homes built between 1983 and 2016 that had foundations poured with concrete mined from a quarry in Willington, Connecticut. The quarry the company used had high concentrations of pyrrhotite.

The pyrrhotite from this quarry was part of the aggregate used for the cement being delivered for residential construction in Connecticut and Massachusetts. Over the course of fifteen to twenty years, the pyrrhotite can react with the seepage of water and oxygen by expanding. For house foundations with this concrete, cracks develop that eventually could lead to the failure of the foundation.

Once the pyrrhotite cracking begins, homeowners face the problem of replacing the foundation at costs that range up to $250,000.
[agencychecklists.com]

More details at The Connecticut Coalition Against Crumbling Basements website.

Another unanswered question is did any of this concrete end up in bridges and commercial buildings?

Wikipedia pyrrhotite page

edit: Just to elucidate the severity of the problem, there is no "fix" or repair of a concrete structure containing pyrrhotite aggregate.
All of the contaminated concrete must be removed and replaced with the appropriate mix.



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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/29/2018 01:52PM by MrNoBody.
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Re: Pyrrhotite: The Looming Disaster in Mass & Conn Homes
Posted by: mrbigstuff
Date: December 29, 2018 01:33PM
Yes, I have heard about this, too. In fact, TOH covered it very briefly on a recent episode. I'm not certain it's completely disastrous in all or, even most, situations, but it's a huge problem.
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Re: Pyrrhotite: The Looming Disaster in Mass & Conn Homes
Posted by: JoeH
Date: December 29, 2018 02:40PM
Living in MA, yes I have heard of this problem. I live far enough from the source that concrete from there was not used in this area, but have heard about it from coworkers who have homes in the area where concrete using aggregate from that quarry was poured.

As for being disastrous, it is something that will cause the concrete to fail, no exceptions. That might not be an issue in a non load bearing use, pour more concrete over it in some cases. But for a foundation, no choice but to remove and replace it.

Whether any of it was used in commercial buildings or bridges is an open question. It appears that the concrete supplier may have been aware of the aggregate being unsuitable for use in concrete and selectively sold it to contractors for home construction. There it was much less likely to be tested for presence of pyrrhotite.
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Re: Pyrrhotite: The Looming Disaster in Mass & Conn Homes
Posted by: blooz
Date: December 29, 2018 10:50PM
What concrete is in the foundation of my 200 year old house was put there long before 1983. Some of the rest of the foundation is just some stones .



And we should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once.
—Friedrich Nietzsche
Western Massachusetts
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Re: Pyrrhotite: The Looming Disaster in Mass & Conn Homes
Posted by: gabester
Date: December 29, 2018 11:42PM
Quote
JoeH
It appears that the concrete supplier may have been aware of the aggregate being unsuitable for use in concrete and selectively sold it to contractors for home construction. There it was much less likely to be tested for presence of pyrrhotite.

Thank goodness for Freedom and Capitalism (tm)!

Cite this as another example of how a business will always cut corners and do the wrong thing to make a profit if they know they will not get caught in the short term. What I really wonder is how much home construction across the entire country might be similarly contaminated and unknown.
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