“One day after the city of Satellite Beach announced it found cancer-causing chemicals in three test wells, Cocoa Beach samples showed the same compounds in its groundwater at levels as much as six times higher than in neighboring Satellite Beach. The high concentrations were discovered in water used to irrigate Cocoa Beach’s city golf course.

While Cocoa Beach’s drinking water comes from sources on the mainland, the latest discovery of the toxic chemicals increases concerns that the contamination of the barrier island’s water table could be more widespread than originally feared with bigger health implications…

Besides the groundwater at the golf course, the highest level of the compounds were discovered at a site where sewage from Patrick Air Force Base flows into Cocoa Beach’s sewer system…

Researchers are finding that even at low levels of exposure, the compounds are implicated in some types of cancer, thyroid defects, immune suppression and pregnancy complications.

Cocoa Beach, Satellite Beach and Brevard County representatives met with Patrick Air Force Base officials on Thursday to compare notes on the possible source of the contamination. The most likely suspect are the foams that were used for decades at the base in training drills and putting out fires.

Cocoa Beach and Satellite Beach tested for the two compounds after residents raised concerns earlier this year about a spate of local cancer cases in recent years among otherwise young healthy women.

In late June, Cocoa Beach drew samples of groundwater and reclaimed water at the golf course and the city’s nearby sewer plant.

On Thursday, Cocoa Beach announced combined levels of the two compounds were as follows:

  • 248.3 parts per trillion in a 10-foot-deep well at the golf course’s northern end;
  • 129.6 parts per trillion at a 10-foot-deep well well on the golf course near Banana River;
  • 430.1 parts per trillion where Patrick Air Force Base sewage flows into Cocoa Beach’s sewer system;
  • 284.4 parts per trillion at the Cocoa Beach’s sewer plant’s discharge, right before treated sewage is pumped to reclaimed water storage tanks;
  • 177.2 parts per trillion at the point where all the sewage, including Patrick’s, flows into Cocoa Beach’s sewer plant…

According to the city, more sites are being added for a second round of testing within the next 10 days. The results will be posted when received and analyzed, Cocoa Beach officials said. That will include sewage flowing from spots throughout the city, at various lift stations and from Port Canaveral, city officials said…

The decision to test the water came after Julie Greenwalt, a Jacksonville oncologist and cancer survivor who graduated from Satellite High School, questioned whether local exposures could have contributed to her illness and those of dozens of others in the area in recent years. She pointed to recent federal testing that showed high concentrations of chemicals from firefighting foams in groundwater at Patrick Air Force Base.

‘We’re going to maintain open communication, because we’re all striving for the same goal — remaining open, honest and transparent,’ said Alex Preisser, a spokesman at Patrick.”

Read the full article by Jim Waymer