On Thursday, October 5, 2017, the Lt. Governor organized a presentation with representatives from the Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA.
They discussed many of the issues we’ve been grappling with over the past 1½ years including establishing quality control standards at quarries and managing or remediating existing structures.
Reiterated that no exact procedure exists for testing and that there are many variables. (i.e. different types of pyrrhotite, the presence of water and sulfite, etc…)
Furthermore, it was stated that congressional approval is needed for further involvement.
Elected officials, staff members of the federal delegation, and CRCOG leaders were present and raised questions. Namely:
- Is there a specific level of pyrrhotite we can point to, at which point its presence becomes problematic?
No. There are too many variables at this point to determine that.
- Could there be specific veins within one quarry, such that some batches of aggregate may have large amounts of pyrrhotite and other batches have none?
The experts indicated that this is possible. The implication is that regular monitoring would be needed because one week, the substance being removed from the earth may be OK and the next week contain the presence of pyrrhotite.
- Has the Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA had communication with foreign countries dealing with this problem? (Canada and Ireland)
The answer was not 100% definitive. A representative from the Lt. Governor’s Office indicated they would reach out to consulates and try to establish this.
A couple of elected officials also reiterated the need to involve FEMA and provide federal assistance. The visiting experts listened and the day before toured affected homes. In follow up conversations, staff members from the federal delegation stated they are considering legislation to this end.