BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. -- Brevard Public Schools is taking action to find out if students have been consuming chemicals known to cause cancer in their drinking water at barrier island campuses.

  • Brevard Schools will test drinking water at barrier island schools
  • Officials looking for trace of firefighting chemicals

Thirteen barrier island campuses are looking for any trace of firefighting chemicals discovered in groundwater at Patrick Air Force Base.

Chemicals from firefighting foam -- perfluorooctane sulfonate and perfluorooctanoic acid known as PFOS and PFOA -- may cause some types of cancer and thyroid defects, according to several scientific studies.

Page Worrells is a mother of four kids currently attending one of the schools, along with two who graduated from beachside schools. She is shocked her kids could have been consuming those chemicals without knowing for many years.

“My husband works at the base, and it’s known you drink bottle water. But my kids all drink the water. They get water from the water fountain,” Worrells said.

According to School Board Member Tina Descovich, who grew up on Satellite Beach and with two kids attending school beachside, she’s wondering if her 2010 thyroid cancer diagnosis had anything to do with the drinking water.

“Patrick Air Force base had the highest amount of these chemicals in their groundwater from the study of the other bases in the entire country; I thought that was very concerning,” Descovich explained.

Brevard County Schools reports that the Department of Defense says the chemicals from firefighting foam at Patrick Air Force Base was found in underground water, and it can migrate underground in sandy soils.

“Our pipes beachside are about 50 years old; if they are rusted and cracked, that’s when water pressure drops or is turned off. If the ground water has the chemicals in it or the soil does, it can leak in,” Descovich said.

According to the school board, it’s going to cost about $10,000 to test all 13 schools’ drinking water, and the results should be in by the beginning of the upcoming school year.

The cities of Satellite Beach and Cocoa Beach will test groundwater, which mostly feeds irrigation wells. 

BPS will test the drinking water at the following schools in beachside communities:

South Patrick Shores

  • Sea Park Elementary 

Satellite Beach

  • Satellite High
  • DeLaura Middle
  • Holland Elementary
  • Surfside Elementary

Cocoa Beach

  • Cocoa Beach Jr./Sr. High
  • Freedom 7 Elementary
  • Roosevelt Elementary

Cape Canaveral

  • Cape View Elementary

Indian Harbor Beach

  • Ocean Breeze Elementary


  • Hoover Middle
  • Indialantic Elementary

Melbourne Beach

  • Gemini Elementary