Lawrence resident Gary Caparelli stumps for water well usage


A Lawrence resident might have a solution for homeowners paying the constantly increasing bills generated by New York American Water, proposing an alternative method for outdoor water usage for South Shore residents without having to pay a high monthly bill.

For roughly 40 years, Caparelli has run his own company, GCI Irrigation Engineering, in Lawrence. During this time, he has installed water wells for residents across Long Island’s South Shore.

“My colleague and I have been irrigation contractors for over 40 years from Massapequa to the Five Towns,” Caparelli said. “Early on, we recognized the need for a more efficient and economical way to supply irrigation quality (not potable) water for sprinkler systems along the South Shore homes. We discovered that installing shallow water wells met this demand.”

Caparelli described what the water well is and how it’s installed. “Today’s wells consist of a pipe and well screen driven or placed into the ground down to depths of 25 to 30 feet,” he said. “Since all of the South Shore areas have a deep, sand sub-strata, driving a well point down into the water table is met with very little resistance from rocks, boulders or hard-pan. Connected to an electric pump, this system can supply a lawn sprinkler with free irrigation quality water.”

Steve Stempler is a colleague of Caparelli whoo runs the Five Towns Sprinkler Service. He also installs water wells throughout the Five Towns and other surrounding areas. He noted the financial benefit of having a water well installed. “With water rates from New York American Water at over $10.00 per thousand gallons and double that for city residents, an irrigation well for your lawn sprinkler is almost a necessity,” Stempler said. “The average “payback” from owning a well/pump system is two to three years.”

A NYAW rate hike that took effect May 1 is expected to increase customers’ bills up to 30 percent. It will affect NYAW’s more than 124,000 customers in Nassau County.

To help mitigate the rise in cost, the state senate introduced legislation that would eliminate NYAW’s special franchise tax, which constitutes between 31 and 50 percent of customers’ monthly bills. Additionally, it would create the Nassau County Water Authority, a new public benefit corporation that would be authorized to take over public and private assets.

State Sen. Todd Kaminsky, a Democrat who represents the Five Towns, co-sponsored the bill. “American Water customers pay some of the highest water rates in the state and that needs to change,” he said. “By setting a path to rate relief and municipalization, we can save real dollars for Long Islanders, and that is precisely what this bill does.”

Caparelli added that the installation of a water well can also help with water conservation. “The source of your drinking water in Nassau is pumped from wells 800 to 1,500 feet deep,” he said. “This supply is also filtered and chlorinated prior to entering your home and delivered through a complex distribution system. Putting costly, treated water on your grass simply does not make sense if a viable alternative exists.”

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