An Ohio man with an extensive background in analyzing concrete and minerals came to Connecticut to talk crumbling concrete basements with dozens of people struggling with the issue.
Nick Scaglione owns Concrete Research and Testing, LLC, and has examined concrete core samples from Connecticut basements for more than a decade, making him very familiar with the issue that has resulted in more than 700 people filing complaints with the state.
Scaglione was brought to Connecticut by a grassroots group trying to learn more about how it can develop standards to test basements to see if they have the crumbling concrete problem, and to test the stone used in concrete before it gets mixed to see if it contains enough of the naturally occurring mineral pyrrhotite to cause a problem.
Experts say when exposed to air and/or water, pyrrhotite can cause concrete to crack and crumble.
Scaglione explained to a standing room only crowd at South Windsor Town Hall that in Canada, one of the only other places with the crumbling concrete problem, a basement with just 0.23 percent pyrrhotite is considered compromised.
However, Scaglione cautioned that the rock used in Canada in concrete has different qualities than the rock used in north central and north eastern Connecticut that has the crumbling concrete problem, making it impossible to simply adopt the same standard Canada uses.
That has Scaglione convinced that developing a standard for a permissible level of pyrrhotite in basements or the rock used to make it, will require time, and money, something in short supply in Connecticut right now.
Earlier in the day the University of Connecticut announced it will fund a one-year research project to come up with a uniform testing method for concrete, that could then be used to develop a system that rates a basement's potential for failure.
The university says it had been trying to secure funding and assistance from the state and federal government the past two years with no luck, so in the end, it decided to provide the funding and resources on its own.