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Murray a good choice for adminstrator's post

March 06, 2007

Congratulations to Greg Murray on his appointment as the Washington County government's chief administrator.

Given the challenges this area faces, Murray has the experience needed to cope with the new rules governing growth and development.

Readers may remember that it was Murray who helped work out the first agreement to interconnect the sewer systems of Hagers-town and Washington County - something elected officials had claimed for years couldn't be done.

Murray also spent two years working with the Washington County Water and Sewer Infrastructure Commission. The group, created by the Maryland General Assembly, looked at the future of water and sewer service here.

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How those services are handled is now more important than ever, because in an effort to clean up the Chesapeake Bay, the federal government has put limits on the expansion of sewer plants.

The goal is to reduce the amount of "nutrients" going into the bay, where they affect the development of grasses and other underwater plant life that help fish survive.

Existing plants won't be allowed to expand, although some plants around the state have been upgraded with new technology to allow some additional development.

But barring the development of new technology, reducing the amount of nutrients from present levels won't be easy. In July, Murray and Merle Elliott, who chaired the water and sewer group, said that what this will require is a whole new system for allocating sewer capacity.

If this seems like a boring topic, consider this: With a finite amount of capacity, local officials will have to decide how much to reserve for future business development. If they don't put any in reserve, when those high-tech companies come calling, Washington County might just have to turn them away.

Murray has the technical knowledge to advise elected officials how to do what needs to be done.

He also has the ability to find solutions where none are readily apparent. We congratulate him on his appointment and wish him well as he tackles the hard tasks that are ahead of him.

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