CRESTVIEW — Adding to his state irrigation certification, local landscaper Shawn LaRue has earned U.S. Environmental Protection Agency WaterSense certification.
The certification arrived just in time for LaRue and his company to begin assessing customers' damage from the recent freezing weather.
The EPA program promotes water-efficient landscape irrigation systems and helps LaRue's customers save water, according to an EPA press release.
LaRue, owner of Crestview-based Horticultural Services Group, was also one of the first 50 horticulturists in Florida to become licensed under a new state regulatory program.
"The state of Florida is actually getting to where they're trying to manage and regulate irrigation contractors the way with they do pesticide companies," LaRue said.
His state license supersedes Okaloosa County requirements that landscape companies have at least a county-issued license from the county Plumbing Board.
Most recently, LaRue earned certification through the international Irrigation Association professional organization.
"It promotes sound irrigation processes," LaRue explained. "It sets standards and elevates the whole industry."
No other horticulture companies in the Crestview area have the state level license, LaRue said. Only "about half a dozen" in Panhandle have the Irrigation Association certification.
Currently Horticultural Services Group is in its "winter lull," although LaRue said he expects calls from customers whose systems were damaged by the recent sub-freezing weather.
"We will be replacing some backflows where people didn't winterize their systems," he said.
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.