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UCONN Awarded $768,000 for Crumbling Foundations Research in Federal Grant Funding Secured by Reps. Courtney and Larson, and the Connecticut Delegation

August 25, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Representatives Joe Courtney (CT-02) and John Larson (CT-01) announced that federal funding they secured in an appropriations bill for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 to conduct research on Connecticut’s crumbling foundations crisis has been awarded to the University of Connecticut (UCONN). Last year, Courtney, Larson, and the Connecticut Delegation worked to secure $1.5 million in funding for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to conduct research on the effects of the mineral pyrrhotite on concrete aggregate. Today, the members announced that NIST has awarded UCONN $768,000 in federal funding that will support research that captures information on the premature degradation of concrete foundations that contain pyrrhotite, and seeks to build a risk assessment framework for identifying and evaluating potential mitigation strategies.

 “It's good to see the funding we worked to secure for crumbling foundations research get turned around so quickly, and even better to see it put to use here with the experts at UCONN in eastern Connecticut,” said Congressman Courtney. “UCONN has already got valuable experience with this sort of work, and they’ve got research underway now. This new round of more than $760,000 in federal funding will help to support that work and see it towards completion. We’ve got thousands of people in eastern Connecticut and across our region who with crumbling foundations, and this research will help us get a better understanding of the scope of the crisis, and a clearer understanding of the risks of pyrrhotite and the levels at which it poses a true danger to the integrity of a concrete foundation. The House has shown real support for our efforts to address crumbling foundations this year—including through our sweeping infrastructure investment bill—and we’ll keep pressing ahead for more.”

“This award highlights how this crisis is an all hands on deck situation. With federal resources, local leadership, and UCONN’s expertise, this effort will further our understanding of how pyrrhotite actually affects building foundations. I will continue to work with Rep. Courtney to pursue every possible avenue to deliver relief to homeowners in Eastern and Central Connecticut,” said Congressman Larson.

Reps. Courtney and Larson have worked together towards securing federal funds for research into eastern Connecticut’s crumbling foundations crisis for years. Recently, the members worked to include several crumbling foundations-related amendments in the House-passed H.R. 2, the Moving Forward Act, a sweeping infrastructure investment bill. These three provisions made H.R. 2 the first major infrastructure package to directly address the crisis. H.R. 2 would also provide an additional $10 billion to HUD’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, one of the most important federal funding programs in addressing the crumbling foundations crisis.

The first two provisions in H.R. 2 would extend the federal “casualty loss” tax deduction for concrete repairs, and would authorize new funding to help schools with crumbling foundations make repairs, like Birch Grove Primary School in Tolland. The third provision would clarify once and for all that states can use federal HUD funding through CDBG to remediate damage to concrete caused by pyrrhotite—making the underlying $10 billion program plus-up even more relevant to the State of Connecticut. With this amendment included, H.R. 2 would prioritize home repairs made due to pyrrhotite and crumbling foundations as one of four qualified uses for that new federal funding. Click here to read more.