About Hicksville Water District
The Hicksville Water District provides more than 2 billion gallons of water to nearly 48,000 customers each year. It is pumped by 15 wells situated approximately 600 feet beneath the earth’s surface from Long Island’s Magothy aquifer. The water is carried throughout the District’s 7.9 square mile service area to more than 15,400 homes and businesses in Hicksville, as well as portions of Bethpage, East Meadow, Jericho, Levittown, Syosset and Westbury. It travels through 166 miles of mains ranging in width from 6 to 24 inches. The utility’s storage capacity of 7.23 million gallons of water includes 2 elevated tanks and 3 ground level tanks.
The Hicksville Water District maintains more than 1,500 fire hydrants to assist area firefighters with protecting the community.
Commissioners of the Hicksville Water District
The Hicksville Water District Board of Commissioners is comprised of three individuals who live in the district’s service area. They are each elected by the public to serve a three-year term, during which time they jointly oversee all operations of the water district.
They are active members of professional public drinking water organizations such as the Long Island Water Conference, the American Water Works Association and Nassau-Suffolk Water Commissioners Association, where they work to maintain the quality and quantity of Long Island’s drinking water. This includes the constant exchange of information with other water professional as well as working with local elected officials to ensure that they best represent the area’s interests on a state and federal level — among other activities.
William Schuckmann, Chairman
William “Bill” Schuckmann joined the Hicksville Water District Board of Commissioners in September 2014.
Commissioner Schuckmann worked his way up the ladder, starting as
laborer, then foreman and eventually superintendent of the Hicksville Water District. As superintendent, he was responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations providing the community with more than 2 billion gallons of clean, portable water. Commissioner Schuckmann has been an active member of the American Water Works Association (AWWA) Long Island Water Conference (LIWC) and New York State Water Conference throughout his tenure as superintendent. Even in retirement, he has remained a member of these organizations to stay abreast of the Long Island water industry, its issues and industry news.
Since 1971, Commissioner Schuckmann, a third-generation Hicksville resident, has served and volunteered within the community. A member of the Hicksville Volunteer Fire Department Rescue 8 for the past 49 years, he has served as Company Lieutenant, Captain (1976-79, 2015-16), Assistant Chief and Chief (1986-87). Commissioner Schuckmann was elected to serve three five-year terms as Fire Commissioner following his tenure as Chief.
Commissioner Schuckmann has been fundamental in fundraising for the Hicksville community, assisting in local charity golf outings and raising funds for various community nonprofit organizations and local families in need through the Hicksville Boys and Girls Club. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Hicksville Chamber of Commerce and Hicksville Rotary Club, for which he previously served as president in 2001 and 2006. In addition, he has been a past president twice for the Special Olympics held at Cantiague Park.
Karl Schweitzer, Secretary
“Environmental Health and Safety” has been the centerpiece of Commissioner Schweitzer’s professional career, as well as his tenure with the Hicksville Water District. A certified utility safety administrator professionally, Karl’s focus with the district continues to be the safety and security of the environment as well as the employees and the residents he serves.
Elected in 2003, it came as no surprise when Schweitzer assumed yet another civic-related responsibility, since he had already devoted a significant amount of time to the community. As a third-generation firefighter, he has served in a multitude of leadership positions with the Hicksville Fire Department including chief from 1996 to 1997. He has been an active member of the department for more than 33 years.
Commissioner Schweitzer has been involved in the restoration of the Gregory Museum, the fire department’s centennial celebration, as a committee member of the Old Courthouse Centennial Celebration and as co-chairman of the 350th anniversary celebration of the Robert Williams Purchase. The Hicksville Chamber of Commerce also honored him as Citizen of the Year in 1998 and by the Hicksville Community Council in 2006.
Karl is currently employed by Con Edison, where he is on its environmental health and safety team. Previously, he worked for KeySpan Energy (formerly LILCO) as power plant safety supervisor and for Grumman Aerospace in its corporate safety division.
A 1981 graduate of Hicksville High School, Karl Schweitzer’s family ties to the community date back to 1928. He resides in a house that has been in his family for more than half a century.
Karl holds a bachelor’s degree in safety engineering and is affiliated with many professional organizations including the AWWA where he received appointments at a national level to the Health, Safety and Security Committee, the Public Officials Committee and the Emergency Preparedness Committee. He is also past-president of the Nassau-Suffolk Water Commissioner Association and past chairman of the Long Island Water Conference.
Karl and his wife Lynn have been married for 30 years and are the proud parents of their daughter Jennifer.
Nicholas Brigandi, Treasurer
When Commissioner Brigandi received the Hicksville Community Council President’s Award in 2004, it was another proud moment for this Hicksville native who has given so much back to his hometown. A member of the Board of Water Commissioners since 1980, Nick has accumulated a long list of accomplishments in the community.
He is a Community Council Director as well as a member of the Hicksville Chamber of Commerce, Sons of Italy, Knights of Columbus and Kiwanis Club. In addition, Nick has been Sergeant of Arms of the Hicksville Fire Department where he has served as a volunteer firefighter with Engine Company #7 for more than 50 years. He has been on the department’s Finance Committee, Welfare Committee and Labor Day Parade and Drill Committee, where he served as chairman. Commissioner Brigandi is also past-president and a trustee of the Volunteer Exempt Benevolent Association for more than 25 years. Before retiring as highway maintenance supervisor, he worked for the Nassau County Department of Public Works for 37 years.
A lifelong Hicksville resident, Nick and his wife Veronica are the proud parents of two children, Theresa and Michael, and have four grandchildren.
A Water District Rich in History
For over three-quarters of a century, the Hicksville Water District has been providing high quality, pristine public water to the customers living and working in the service area. Our rich history virtually parallels the growth of Long Island, and demonstrates how a public utility should respond to increasing service demands. Although the district was officially formed in 1921, the impetus for a public water supplier in this region of Nassau County goes back long before that time.
In fact, it was the early settlers of this area who often first made mention of the lack of fresh water. Though they dug their own wells and cisterns, most of the fresh water used by Hicksville’s first residents was obtained from a pond fed by a fresh spring located where the Milleridge Inn stands today.
In 1844, new concerns about the need for water were raised following a devastating two-day fire that destroyed the train station, engine house and storage sheds in the train yard. The fire struck in the middle of the summer, when many of the existing wells had run dry and water levels of the small cisterns were just too low to extinguish the flames.
Still, it wasn’t until the turn of the century (1902) when the Oyster Bay Town Board granted a franchise to the privately owned Nassau Water Company to establish a water works company. It was located on a small triangle of land located just west of Broadway, between Old Country Road and West Carl Street. The Nassau Water Company served the district for almost 20 years, but the residents of Hicksville felt the utility was being mismanaged and complained about the service. Those complaints were justified as the water mains were badly rusted, causing clothes and cooking utensils to become stained.
Frustrated by the company’s inability to provide adequate service, 700 of the 4,500 local residents got together and petitioned the Oyster Bay Town Board in support of forming their own “Hicksville” Water District. The measure was passed on August 30, 1921. During this same meeting Ernest Franke, William D. Magill and August P. Deppisch were elected as the first water Commissioners of the new water district. They held their first meeting at an office in the Nassau Lumber Company on September 2, 1921.
It wasn’t long before bids were taken to purchase land for the construction of much needed new wells. In the summer of 1923, almost 5 acres near the railroad tracks on Bethpage Road were purchased from George Blyman for the price of $6,000. The Karlson & Lee Company was then hired to dig two 150-foot wells and build the district’s first administration building, which also included a two bay garage. Soon, the new wells were producing 2 million gallons of water a year, traveling through 17 miles of new pipelines. Things were really looking up for the district and its customers.
However, over the next 20 years the population of Hicksville continued to grow. The demands of an increased customer base, coupled with the need for more adequate fire safety, seriously stretched the capability of the utility’s infrastructure. The combination of drought conditions and some large fires left the wells very low. In the last 1930s, district officials began lobbying Oyster Bay Town for $90,000 to upgrade the drinking water wells and water equipment, but the funds were denied.
When the Pickle Works factory burned down in March of 1941, the district’s two wells almost ran dry. Soon after, the New York State Health Department stepped in and ordered the district to make the necessary changes needed to supply water to the residents and provide adequate fire safety for the community.
A $50,000 bond was issued on January 2, 1942 to add an additional well. But, with event of World War II, the third well was not completed until 1947.
Today the Hicksville Water District proudly looks back on over 90 years of history, growth and service to the community. From its original building and two wells situated in a field on the outskirts of the community, the district has grown to nine plants and 15 wells strategically located throughout a 7.9 square mile area. The utility’s original 17 miles of pipelines have been upgraded and expanded to more than 165 miles. Perhaps most dramatic of all has been the increase in district’s customer base from 4,500 in the 1920’s to an excess of 47,800 today.
Fire safety has been a major priority in planning the district’s growth. From the original 207 fire hydrants in the beginning, some of which were actually used in the Pickle Factory Fire, the district is now responsible for the upkeep of more than 1,650 hydrants. The condition and modernization of the district’s infrastructure has contributed to the low insurance rates enjoyed by our residents.
For over 90 years, the Hicksville Water District has played an important role in the history of the community it serves. We look forward to many more years of providing dedicated service and a quality product to local residents and business owners.
Hicksville Water District History
Those who have served on the board of commissioners and in the role as superintendent of the Hicksville Water District have had a significant impact on the utility’s history as well as the quality of the product and service provided today.
|William I. Magill
August P. Deppisch
Laurence Bevan, Jr.