Landscape products on the rise

The U.S. demand for decorative, hardscape, outdoor structures, and other landscaping products is expected to increase 6.1%/year to $7.5 billion in 2013, according to a new study from Cleveland-based industry research firm The Freedonia Group Inc.

New, updated pump standards on CD-ROM

ANSI/HI Pump Standards Version 2.1 is composed of the complete set of 28 ANSI/HI Standards, five of which have been extensively updated since the release of Version 2.0 in 2005. Also included is the first edition of the “Controlled Volume Metering Pumps for Nomenclature, Definitions Application and Operation (ANSI/HI 7.1-7.5).” Visit www.pumps.org.

Water softener study begins

The Water Quality Research Foundation plans to study the impact of water softeners on landfill overflow. The study will measure the extent of energy savings that the use of water softeners has on household appliances. The project will test clothes washers, dishwashers, and low-flow faucets using hard and softened water to analyze their longevity. It will be conducted by nonprofit international science and technology enterprise the Battelle Memorial Institute and is expected to be completed by September.

Wetlands partnership recognized

The National Association of Counties awarded $765,420 to four organizations and local governments for its Five Star Restoration Program, which funds habitat and wetlands restoration projects that use partnerships between local governments and community groups, businesses, and environmental organizations. Those receiving the grants are: the Lucas County Conservation Board in Iowa; the Lamoille County Natural Resources Conservation District and Nature Center, Vt.; the city of Gladstone in Delta County, Mich.; and the Elachee Nature Science Center in Hall County, Ga.

Students win steel bridge competition

A team of 11 civil engineering students from the State University of New York, Canton, won the 18th annual National Student Steel Bridge Competition held last month by the American Institute of Steel Construction. North Dakota State University, Fargo, took second and Lakehead University, Ontario, Canada, took third. Each competing team performed the steel design, fabrication, and erection required to construct a 20-foot-long scale-model bridge capable of carrying 25,000 pounds and serving as a replacement for a century-old highway bridge. Visit www.aisc.org/steelbridge.

Long-lasting asphalt awarded

The Asphalt Pavement Alliance presented Perpetual Pavement Awards to several DOTs that own asphalt pavements that are at least 35 years old and have never had a structural failure. The winners are: Arkansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Washington.

How do your retirement benefits compare?

Find out by logging onto a free Web site that allows users to research city/county health care and pension data by population, state, geographic region, and general fund revenues. The tool generates a series of metrics concerning pension benefits, wellness programs, retiree health care, and other Government Finance Officers Association indicators. Visit http://mygfoa.org/gbct/about.cfm.

Math books for treatment operators

The American Water Works Association's Math for Wastewater Treatment Operators: Grades 1 and 2, and Grades 3 and 4 provide students and operators with a focused way to prepare for the many challenging math problems likely to be encountered on certification exams. The books also serve as easy reference guides to common calculations wastewater operators encounter every day on the job. Visit www.awwa.org/bookstore.