Brevard Public Schools tests drinking water at 13 beach side campuses for chemicals

Testing is response to possible cancer cluster near Patrick Air Force Base

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – Critical testing began Tuesday at 13 beach side schools to determine whether the drinking water is possibly contaminated with firefighting chemicals discovered in groundwater at Patrick Air Force Base.

A crew with Universal Engineering Services, of Rockledge, collected dozens of water samples from school drinking fountains and cafeteria kitchen sinks.

The workers were contracted by Brevard Public Schools to determine if chemicals from Patrick Air Force Base seeped into drinking water. Brevard Schools officials said they will test the barrier island schools for potentially toxic chemicals.

The testing is progress said Satellite High School graduate Jennifer Jackson, who was 19 in 1991 when she was diagnosed with bone cancer.

"We need to come together and determine what is going on," Jackson said.

A younger generation of Satellite High graduates has also been diagnosed with rare cancers for which they have no family history.

Fingers are being pointed at the military after the Department of Defense found that chemicals in firefighting foams may now be lurking in the water.

Researchers are looking into the latest cases being reported.

A direct link between the military and a possible cancer cluster has not been found.

"When I found out that future generations were being diagnosed with cancer at young ages, like I was at 19, of course, it caused all of us who graduated from Satellite to be alarmed and wonder, 'You know, there looks to be a thread of connection here," Jackson said.

Results from the samples collected Tuesday and Wednesday are expected in three weeks.

About the Author:

James Sparvero

James joined News 6 in March 2016 as the Brevard County Reporter. His arrival was the realization of a three-year effort to return to the state where his career began. James is from Pittsburgh, PA and graduated from Penn State in 2009 with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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