Connecticut-based contactor successfully combines drilling, water treatment services.

Water treatment – that is, offering water-quality treatment options and managing the inevitable subsequent service calls – is a polarizing issue for the drilling industry. Contractors seem either to love or hate that aspect of being in water service. For some, it’s a hassle not worth the time or effort. For others, however, contending with water quality has proven to be a lucrative venture that’s very worth their while. Grela Well Drilling Inc., Terryville, Ct., embraced the treatment side of things nearly 30 years ago, and it since has become an integral part of the company’s offerings.

Says Larry Grela, president of Grela Well Drilling, “We have been offering water treatment to our customers since 1980. We became involved in water treatment because it was such a demand to provide clean, potable drinking water to our customers.”

The company has benefited from its willingness to meet that demand. “Water treatment has impacted our business tremendously,” Grela notes. “When drilling time is slow, we are kept very busy by servicing the existing filters we have installed. We advertise to our customers, ‘water is our only business,’ so to know every aspect of water quality and treatment has continued the growth of our company.”

This family-owned firm has operated since 1965, and has involved three generations. Grela Well Drilling serves customers throughout Connecticut, and prides itself on being a full-service drilling company. One-third of Grela Well Drilling’s business comes from water-quality treatment, while the other two-thirds are evenly split between drilling and pump system installation. The company provides residential and commercial air-hammer drilling, and also has added geothermal drilling for energy efficiency. To handle its workload, Grela Well Drilling currently runs two drill rigs, and has 14 employees.

Working in the Northeast, the most common water-quality issues Grela encounters are low pH, hardness, manganese and radon. To combat the resulting problems, Grela offers a range of water treatment services, including water-softening filters, neutralizing filters, UV systems and aeration systems.

Explaining how he manages the logistics of operating and integrating multiple segments, Grela reveals, “Our drill crews strictly handle the drilling of the wells, and we have trained service crews to install our water treatment system. We currently offer our customers free water sampling for hardness, pH, iron and manganese, and with those results, we forward our evaluation sheet with a recommendation.”

Going Forward

Looking to the future, Grela describes his company’s direction: “Our plans are to continue as we have with the past three generations – to gain growth by obtaining the knowledge to keep our customers up to date about clean, safe, potable drinking water from private wells.”

Increased geothermal well drilling may also loom large on the horizon for Grela, who sees it as a potential growth market: “Geothermal well drilling also is becoming well known to customers who are building and researching energy efficiency. As the public becomes educated, the industry expands with yet another service that derives from staying educated and keeping your customers educated in all aspects.”

When asked about the secret of his success, Grela reveals, “In this industry, you can’t guarantee a customer the amount of water you are going to obtain when you drill a well for them, and you can’t guarantee the quality of the water you are going to obtain. But to have the knowledge to address the issues that may arise will make you successful, and will provide the service your customers expect.”

With such a winning philosophy, Grela Well Drilling no doubt will continue to see great success in whatever direction it pursues.