Groundwater Contamination Detected at Kennedy Space Center

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has discovered groundwater contamination, including perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), at the Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, Florida, that exceeds the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s advisory level. PFOS and PFOA fall under the umbrella name per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

While the contamination has only been confirmed at one groundwater site, the findings have prompted residents in the Satellite Beach area to question if the contamination in drinking water may be responsible for a cancer cluster, according to Florida Today.

The highest levels of PFOS and PFOA ever measured in alligators have been discovered in the blood of alligators between 2012 and 2015 near the space center, according to research published in the journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.

The EPA currently does not provide groundwater target clean-up levels for the emerging contaminants, so NASA has said that it will continue to test its groundwater in 2019 to determine the level of pollution and be ready to act when the EPA issues target levels.

Many in the groundwater industry are working daily on PFAS-related issues, and NGWA’s Groundwater and PFAS: State of Knowledge and Practice, published last year, is one of the most comprehensive tools available on the topic. The text was crafted by 36 NGWA volunteers.

NGWA also has on online resource center on PFAS, which includes:

  • A PFAS FAQs sheet
  • Top 10 facts about PFAS
  • NGWA’s involvement in PFAS at the federal level
  • A homeowner checklist
  • A list of EPA community events.

Visit the NGWA PFAS Resource Center.

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