Cancer-causing chemicals found in Satellite Beach groundwater

Image 1 of 5

The City of Satellite Beach says a contractor hired to test groundwater here confirmed the presence of cancer-causing chemicals from three randomly drilled groundwater wells.

“It’s unfortunate,” said City Manager Courtney Barker, who ordered the tests after the U.S. Air Force released results from groundwater tests from neighboring Patrick Air Force Base.

Those tests showed high levels of perfluorinated chemicals, known as PFOS and PFOA. The chemicals were used by military firefighters for decades to put out aircraft fires and jet fuel fires. Results from the groundwater tests at three randomly drilled wells in Satellite Beach include: City Hall, 41.5 parts per trillion; Satellite High School, 22.85 parts per trillion; and Sea Park Community Park 30.13 parts per trillion. 

The Environmental Protection Agency has established a provisional health advisory level for drinking water regarding these compounds, which is 70 parts per trillion. The PAFB concentrations ranged from 71 ppt to 4.3 million ppt for 28 different monitoring wells. Perflourinated chemicals have been linked to certain cancers and other diseases.

The Air Force has said while perflourinated chemicals have been found on base, they dismiss any possible health impacts from their ground water because the drinking water for beachside communities is piped in from another city.

"Groundwater is not used for drinking water at Patrick AFB or our neighboring communities" said Brig. Gen. Wayne R. Monteith in a statement posted to the website of the 45th Space Wing, which controls operations at Patrick Air Force Base. "We receive our drinking water from the City of Cocoa and the City of Melbourne."

City Manager Courtney Barker says it’s too soon to know what steps, if any, the public needs to take regarding the results. But she says at the very minimum, no one should be consuming groundwater. She says the results of the groundwater tests have been forwarded to the Florida Department of Health and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection for them to study and make recommendations on what the city should do next.

The City of Satellite Beach is not alone in testing it’s water. The City of Cocoa Beach is also testing it’s groundwater and is expected to release the results of it’s tests in the next few days. Brevard Public Schools is testing the drinking water at more than a dozen beachside schools, including Satellite Beach High School, where a radiation oncologist says she confirmed there is a cancer cluster among more than twenty people with no family history of cancer.

The results of the school drinking water tests are expected no later than August 3rd.