U.S. Pipe & Foundry L.L.C. has announced it will close its Burlington, NJ, plant early next year, in a strategy it says is part of an effort “to reconfigure its operations to remain competitive with domestic manufacturing." The closing will eliminate about 180 jobs by February, according to local reports. U.S. Pipe is a division of Atlanta-based Mueller Water Products Inc., and was spun off from Walter Industries in 2006. It manufactures ductile iron pipe, fittings, valves, gaskets, and hydrants at Burlington, North Birmingham and Bessemer, AL, and Union City, CA. In May 2006 U.S. Pipe confirmed plans to build a new plant adjacent to the Bessemer operation. Production is expected to start there later in 2008. Output from the Burlington plant will be transferred to other U.S. Pipe manufacturing facilities, according to the company. However, it will continue to be used as a distribution center for customers in the Northeast.