Describing themselves as underground businesses, two water companies are offering...

Describing themselves as underground businesses, two water companies are offering college scholarships in hopes of attracting a flow of graduates knowledgeable about the industry. Credit: iStock

Long Island's "silent industry," the water business, is trying to get noticed.

So it's giving out scholarships to incoming college freshmen in the hopes they will eventually take jobs in the industry, said William Varley, president of Lynbrook-based Long Island American Water. The company gave two $2,500 scholarships to high-achieving students -- Eric Mauro of Lynbrook, who will be attending the University of Buffalo in the fall, and Ayman Khan, also of Lynbrook, who is to attend the City College of New York.

Aqua Water of Massapequa also handed out two scholarships in the same amount to Sara Kulins of North Bellmore, who will go to Adelphi in the fall, and Zachary Salvo of Seaford, headed for Molloy College. The scholarships were the first the water companies have granted, said Varley.

"We're trying to attract people to the industry," Varley said. "It's the silent industry. Everything is buried underground, and nobody thinks about it. They just turn on their faucets."Ayman said she wants to be a biomedical engineer. "Probably a researcher," she said. "But I haven't figured it out yet."