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Water, sewer department to change name

June 20, 2003|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

According to Webster's College Dictionary, a "sewer" is an underground conduit used for carrying off waste water and refuse.

But to some, the term is outdated and carries a negative connotation.

So the County Commissioners this week decided to change the name of its Water and Sewer Department to one that conveys a more positive image: The Washington County Department of Water Quality.

Department Director Greg Murray said the new name better fits the mission of the department, which is to protect water quality, and is a morale booster for employees.

"It seems like water quality best signifies what our mission is and what state and federal agencies are expecting of our product," Murray said.

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The department felt the word "sewer" was perceived to be something negative and was an outdated term, Murray said.

Department employees began discussing a name change late last year, but held off approaching the commissioners because of the county election and budget discussions, he said.

The name change will make employees feel good about having a hand in trying to upgrade the department's image, he said.

Murray said the change reflects the hard work the employees have done to improve operations and reduce the water and sewer debt.

"They're recognized for moving the department into the future. That's definitely good for morale," Murray said.

Murray said the name change will require new letterheads and a few signs, but the cost will be minimal.

Department vehicles will not have to be changed, because they carry the Division of Public Works name on them. The Water Quality department is part of the county's Division of Public Works.

Commissioner John C. Munson said he wasn't convinced changing the name would boost employee morale.

"I personally don't see where it is, and probably most employees don't care," Munson said. "I wouldn't say it's goofy, but I don't see why it would make any sense, because it is the water and sewer department."

He said he wasn't opposed to changing the name but that it was such a minor issue that he forgot he had voted for it on Tuesday.

"It's such a small thing I can't even remember it," Munson said.

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