Cancer survivors ask leaders for more testing of contaminated water

Advocates ask Erin Brockovich to visit Satellite Beach

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – Survivors of a cluster of cancer cases continue calling on local leaders to conduct more testing of what they're calling contaminated water.

Advocate Stel Bailey took that message Tuesday night to Melbourne City Hall.

"We have 54 students at Satellite High diagnosed with cancer," Bailey addressed city council members.

Nine beach side schools, including Satellite High, tested positive for traces of chemicals also found at Patrick Air Force Base.

Brevard Public Schools conducted testing in July that found traces of the chemicals in school drinking water.

The nine schools all get their water from the Melbourne water system.

The school district concluded the water was still safe because chemicals were detected at lower levels than what the Environmental Protection Agency considers unsafe.

"Nobody is more concerned than we are that our water is safe," Melbourne City Manager Mike McNees said to Bailey during the council meeting.

McNees told Bailey, without specifying, the city does intend to do testing.

Bailey wants the city to test the plant at Lake Washington.

She also wants new testing to compare water beachside with water on the mainland.

"They should be jumping at the opportunity to say Melbourne water is not the source for contamination of these cancer-causing chemicals," Bailey said.

Bailey said she's emailed someone who may know more about those chemicals, famous environmental activist Erin Brockovich.

Bailey hasn't received a reply, but another concerned citizen showed News 6 Brockovich commenting to him on Facebook writing that she's planning a visit to Satellite Beach.

"We want her to come here, tell us what she is knowledgeable on with these chemicals, and to give us direction and just how to get resolve in this," Bailey said.

News 6 emailed Brockovich without receiving a reply Wednesday.

About the Author:

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.