STATE REACHES AGREEMENT TAKING CONCRETE PRODUCTS FROM
TWO EASTERN CONN. COMPANIES OFF RESIDENTIAL FOUNDATION MARKET
For immediate release MONDAY, MAY 9, 2016
HARTFORD – Attorney General George Jepsen and state Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) Commissioner Jonathan A. Harris announced today that the Joseph J. Mottes Company and the Becker Construction Company have voluntarily agreed to stop selling material or product containing aggregate from Becker's Quarry in Willington for use in residential concrete foundations in Connecticut until June 2017. The state investigation into deteriorating foundations in eastern Connecticut continues.
Becker will provide its customers with notice stating that it has agreed not to sell aggregate from Becker's Quarry for use in the installation of residential concrete foundations and will post notice at its business locations and provide notice to customers that purchase stone aggregate.
Concrete aggregate is essentially crushed stone, sand and/or gravel that is combined with cement, water and sometimes other additives to produce concrete.
"My office and DCP have dedicated significant resources to this investigation, and we are moving as quickly as we responsibly can to complete our work," said Attorney General Jepsen. "Although that investigation will continue into the fall, we believe there is now sufficient evidence to conclude that significant levels of the mineral pyrrhotite in stone aggregate used in the production of concrete is a substantial contributing factor to the crumbling foundations experienced by some homeowners in eastern Connecticut. This conclusion is based on the analysis and input of our consulting scientific expert as well as other information obtained in the investigation. Further efforts are necessary to understand the full range of contributing factors and the manner that all factors interact to produce concrete deterioration."
The Attorney General continued, "Nevertheless, because the aggregate produced by Becker's Quarry and the concrete made from it may contain pyrrhotite in significant levels, caution dictates that concrete products and ingredients from these companies be removed from the residential construction market until our investigation is complete. At that time, we anticipate being better able to assess any legal remedies that the state may have to address this problem and that lawmakers will have additional information on which to determine if public policy changes are warranted in the next legislative session. We commend these companies for agreeing to this voluntary step in the interest of public confidence in the safety of building materials and in allowing a full investigation to be completed."
"At DCP, we're pleased that our investigation has moved forward so thoroughly. Our findings have confirmed that pyrrhotite is a factor in failing foundations, and that has opened up the door for us to take some preliminary action that can help consumers," said Commissioner Harris. "We know the urgency of this issue for so many homeowners in eastern Connecticut, and are confident that the investigation will continue to produce the results we need to get the outcomes homeowners are looking for. This agreement with Joseph J. Mottes and Becker Construction Company will be just one of many steps forward we hope to make."
While this agreement only applies to use of products in residential construction, the Attorney General and Commissioner Harris urge commercial and public project managers to continue to exercise strict control and scrutiny over the quality of concrete products used in their projects. To date, the state's investigation has documented concrete deterioration of a comparable nature in a number of residential foundations but has not revealed similar evidence of failures of commercial or public building foundations.
No finding of any legal violation by any party has been made at this stage. Under the agreement, the state reserves its right to assert any legal claims it may have against the companies after the expiration of the period covered by the agreement, and the companies reserve any defenses they may have to any such claims.
To date, the DCP has received 220 complaints of deteriorating concrete foundations in eastern Connecticut. Homeowners experiencing severe foundation cracking or crumbling are strongly encouraged to file a complaint with the department. Click here for more information and for the department's complaint form.
Assistant Attorneys General Jeremy Pearlman and Jonathan Blake and Associate Attorney General Kimberly Massicotte are assisting the Attorney General with this matter. Special Investigator, Caylee Yerkes-Ribeiro and Attorney Julianne Avallone are advising Commissioner Harris on this investigation.