Aug 29, 2018

Groundwater Contamination Discovered at Kennedy Space Center

Emerging contaminants have been detected near the Kennedy Space Center and the highest recorded levels of PFOS and PFOA in alligator blood has been found

NASA finds groundwater contamination near space center
NASA finds groundwater contamination near 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, Fla., that exceeds the U.S. EPA’s advisory level. 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. In another study published in the journal Chemosphere last year, Biologies Russ Lowers found alligators with high plasma fluorinated compounds near the Shuttle Landing Facility and the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout retention pond.

Because EPA currently provides no groundwater target cleanup levels for the emerging contaminants, NASA has said that it will continue to test its groundwater next year to determine the scope of pollution and that they will be prepared to act when EPA issues new target levels.