HARTFORD, Conn. —Town officials and homeowners from eastern Connecticut communities affected by a spate of naturally occurring failing foundations urged lawmakers on Tuesday to provide immediate help, warning that municipalities and residents can’t handle the costs on their own.

Tolland Town Manager Steve Werbner likened the crisis to a major natural disaster, saying the time for studies is over.

“We need to start to address homes in need now to prevent further shrinking of our grand list and a buildup of unusable homes in our community,” he told members of four legislative committees focused on the issue. “Homeowners need help now. Many are not financially able to absorb the full amount of this cost and cannot get additional mortgages in many cases due to the value of the house being less than the repairs.”

In addition, he said, many have been unable to get help from their insurance companies.

Tuesday’s hearing attracted dozens of worried homeowners and condo owners whose foundations are crumbling. The problem has been traced to a Willington quarry that produced a concrete mix containing pyrrhotite, an iron sulfide mineral that apparently reacted with oxygen and water over the past decades.

“I’m frightened of losing my home, my retirement savings,” said Anne Derrig, who lives in a 12-building condominium complex in Vernon that could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to repair. “We do not want a loan. We need relief.”

Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy wants to spend $5 million to test home foundations so see if they’re failing because of pyrrhotite.

About 500 affected homeowners have registered with the Department of Consumer Protection, but the number is expected to be much greater.

Total costs for remediation could reach $1 billion, affecting 6,000 to 7,000 homes. Potentially 36 towns are affected by the problem.

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