馃挧 Seminario Web en Vivo: Planificaci贸n para la Mitigaci贸n de Riesgos para Servicios P煤blicos

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El 23 de octubre de 2018 se firm贸 la Ley de Infraestructura H铆drica de Estados Unidos (AWIA por sus siglas en ingl茅s). Esta ley decreta que los sistemas h铆dricos comunitarios peque帽os que prestan servicio a m谩s de 3,300 personas, pero menos de 50,000 mantengan actualizados sus evaluaciones de riesgos y resiliencia y planes de respuesta a emergencias. Este webinario cubrir谩 estas dos herramientas adem谩s de unas mejoras practicas para realizarlo con su equipo.

Esquema:

  • Introducci贸n a los t茅rminos relevantes
  • La evaluaci贸n de riesgos
  • El plan de respuesta a emergencias
  • Requisitos de AWIA

Nuestra presentadora ser谩 Tricia Kent, Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC).

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La operaci贸n adecuada de un sistema de agua potable marcar谩 la diferencia en la calidad de agua que le sirven a sus comunidades y en el tiempo de vida de los componentes de su sistema. Tambi茅n podremos prevenir un mal manejo y/o violaciones a la reglamentaci贸n de agua potable siempre y cuando prevengamos algunos escenarios importantes que se discutir谩n durante este taller. Cubriremos diferentes t贸picos que le ayudaran a mejorar la calidad de agua y la operaci贸n de su sistema. Entre ellos: protecci贸n de fuentes de agua, sistemas de distribuci贸n, calidad de agua, conexiones cruzadas, limpieza, desinfecci贸n y mantenimiento de su tanque de distribuci贸n, desinfecci贸n adecuada y certificaciones de la NSF para componentes y qu铆micos del sistema de distribuci贸n.

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El objetivo de este adiestramiento es repasar de forma general los diferentes sistemas de manejo y/o tratamiento de aguas usadas que podemos encontrar en Puerto Rico. Se incluye el razonamiento para seleccionar el proceso adecuado, los sistemas descentralizados y los sistemas centralizados. En cada uno de estos grupos se ofrecer谩 informaci贸n general de los sistemas de tratamiento y sus caracter铆sticas principales. En adici贸n, se incluye un vistazo a las 谩reas que debe trabajar una comunidad para solicitar asistencia financiera. Se ofrecer谩 informaci贸n sobre fuentes potenciales para asistencia financiera para organizaciones e individuos. Este adiestramiento se ofrecer谩 en espa帽ol.

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Tu comunidad, 驴realiza los muestreos del agua que tomas? 驴Conoces los resultados de esos muestreos? 驴Sabes interpretar esos resultados? Es importante conocer la calidad del agua que tomamos diariamente. Para eso, es necesario realizar los muestreos requeridos por la Ley de Agua Potable Segura (SDWA), pero m谩s importante, saber interpretar esos resultados. Este adiestramiento te ayudara a conocer los contaminantes regulados por la ley y como interpretar los resultados y las dem谩s partes de la hoja de resultados de muestreo de esos contaminantes. 隆As铆 sabr谩s la calidad del agua que estas tomando!

RCAP Solutions’ 2023 Impact Report 鈥 Paving the Path Forward!

In 2023, RCAP Solutions continued to gain momentum as we shifted our focus from the pandemic and began to strategically plan for the next phase of our organization. Navigating the dynamic landscapes of our service industry, it is essential to assess our current position and anticipate our future direction. View our 2023 Impact Report to learn more about last year’s accomplishments and check out stories from the people we serve!

Amid programmatic expansion, staff growth, and new partnership opportunities, it was ideal to prioritize strategic planning initiatives and envision the future of RCAP Solutions. Our enthusiastic board of directors collaborated closely with an engaged management team to address internal and external challenges, successes, and opportunities, positioning our organization for continued success.

We thank our partners and continued supporters and invite you to join us as we pursue a collective vision of a world made up of strong and resilient communities and individuals, confident in their potential and with ownership of their success.

We look forward to a productive 2024 as we remain steadfast in our commitment to fulfilling our mission: To foster personal and public self-reliance and improve the quality of life for individuals, families, and the communities in which they live.

Synergy Spotlight: Meet Juan Campos Collazo, Community Specialist

Juan Campos Callazo has been with RCAP Solutions since 2002, making him one of the most senior employees at the organization. But it鈥檚 not just Juan鈥檚 seniority that makes him an extremely valuable addition to our Community & Environmental Resources division; it鈥檚 his unyielding dedication to serving rural communities in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands 鈥 steadfast, for over 22 years.

Before joining RCAP Solutions, Juan worked in the Drinking Water Program at the Puerto Rico Department of Health for 14 years. As a former employee of the Department of Health, Juan developed many lasting relationships with rural communities and their drinking water systems鈥 staff, which carried over when he joined RCAP Solutions.

Ever since he was young, Juan knew he wanted to be involved in the engineering field and he wanted to help others, therefore he decided to pursue civil engineering. He holds a Bachelor鈥檚 Degree in Civil Engineering with a concentration in water resources from the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico. In addition, Juan is a certified drinking water and wastewater operator, and is a member of the College of Engineers and Surveyors of Puerto Rico.

Juan truly finds fulfilment from his work, mainly because he is able to make a difference for people and their communities, ensuring they have safe drinking water and sanitary wastewater disposal. He noted, 鈥淚 care first about people, which is why I decided to become an engineer and make a difference. I consider myself as an instrument to improve the quality of life of other people and feel that I am fulfilling my life too at another level. For me, respect and responsibility are important values and my performance as a professional and as a human being is based on both.鈥

Juan鈥檚 contributions were noted by Josefa Torres-Olivo, Regional Director (PR/USVI), who said, 鈥淛uan is a great human being that I have known since university. He is a person who transmits and gives serenity, he is calm but with a lot of commitment and dedication as technical assistance provider to rural communities, as well as a deacon of the church. It is an honor to know and work with Juan for so many years.鈥

Juan truly took his commitment to the next level when he became ordained as a Deacon in December 2023. This process, which took 4 years of studious work to complete, began when he was nominated by his parish that he is so deeply involved with.

This accomplishment changed Juan鈥檚 life. He stated, 鈥淏eing a Deacon of the Catholic Church is first a great blessing, and a great responsibility too. I now serve the church through service to people with baptisms, funerals, visits to the elderly and sick people, Celebration of the Liturgy, and assisting the Priest at Mass. It has changed my life in all aspects, has made me more aware of the presence of God, how my family has contributed to this process, how the community with their prayers has given me the strength to complete the ordination, I鈥檓 more sensitive to the needs of others, and I have learned to be more patient and tolerant with others and myself.鈥

Whether it is through his work at RCAP Solutions or at his church, Juan is a person that people look to for guidance and support, and he is happy to give it.

Mark Johnson, Director of Community & Environmental Resources, added, 鈥淛uan鈥檚 positive attitude and infectious smile is immediately apparent to anyone in his presence. His concern for fellow employees and the communities he has been serving for decades is remarkable. He listens with intent, one of the many skills that makes him a successful technical assistance provider. Juan is a valuable member of the RCAP Solutions team, a trusted member of the community, and a leader by example.鈥

Fun Facts About Juan:

  • Hometown: Ponce, Puerto Rico
  • Favorite Book: Chicken Soup for the Soul by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, and Amy Newmark
  • Favorite Movie: Ladyhawke directed by Richard Donner
  • Favorite Sports Teams: New York Yankees, Boston Celtics, Leones de Ponce (baseball & basketball)
  • Favorite Song: Can鈥檛 Fight This Feeling by REO Speedwagon
  • Historical Figure he’d Like to Meet: Jesus Christ
  • Places He’d Like to Travel to: France, Spain, and Italy

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La preparaci贸n y el conocimiento son la clave para lograr el cumplimiento con los requisitos de la reglamentaci贸n, as铆 como para enfrentar eventos producidos por la naturaleza o por el hombre que afectan a los Acueductos Comunitarios Rurales y a nuestra Isla. El taller le ofrecer谩 al participante informaci贸n sobre los conceptos b谩sicos que debe incluir un Plan de Respuesta a Emergencias.

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Repasaremos los conceptos esenciales鈥lan de Manejo, Log铆stica de equipos y su distribuci贸n, Centros de Acopio Temporeros, Desv铆o de Materiales, Educaci贸n Comunitaria.

En este adiestramiento repasaremos los elementos m谩s importantes que debemos tener en consideraci贸n para prepararnos previo a un desastre respecto al manejo de los escombros y materiales resultantes del evento.

Repasaremos cinco 谩reas relevantes para atender con eficiencia un evento que genere grandes cantidades de escombros.

Previo a la temporada de huracanes en el tr贸pico, queremos que est茅 preparado para que pueda agilizar el proceso de recuperaci贸n y que este sea uno eficiente y ordenado ante los retos que presentan estos eventos naturales.

Este adiestramiento es dirigido a personal municipal o estatal con capacidad decisional y que est谩 involucrado en el manejo de residuos s贸lidos, personal de operaciones de obras p煤blicas y de respuesta a emergencias, juntas comunitarias o de organizaciones sin fines de lucro, lideres comunitarios y personas con inter茅s en mejorar la calidad de vida de sus comunidades.

De forma clara y sencilla repasaremos puntos clave que nos ayuden en la planificaci贸n y respuesta a un desastre.

Colaboraci贸n con el Departamento de Recursos Naturales y Ambientales de Puerto Rico.

Julie Carroll, RCAP Solutions Board Member

Julie Carroll is a human resources and operations professional with more than 25 years of experience in diverse business environments. She joined the RCAP Solutions Board in July of 2022.

Her portfolio includes proven achievements in business operations management, risk management, employee relations, training, and development. She is a self-starter; dependable, highly motivated and a thorough performer with a demonstrated ability to work with all levels of management to design, develop and implement strategies to improve business and employee performance, and can effectively inspire others to achieve individual and corporate goals. Julie is also a Real Estate Sales Agent with Keller Williams Realty, Inc. and brings community development experience as a former planning board member for the town of Boxborough, MA.

Julie began her career in the areas of finance and operations. Working in an entrepreneurial small business environment for a family-owned company, she found herself moving into a human resources role, bringing the organization together working with benefits, employee handbooks and enjoyed supporting the employees. 鈥淚 felt challenged in that arena,鈥 she noted. 鈥淚 could hone my skills in that area and used strategy to focus on the employee experience. As a result, my career evolved, and I went on to own and operate a small HR outsourcing company for several years.鈥

Julie received her AAS in Liberal Studies at Middlesex Community College in Bedford, MA, and a Professional Human Resources (PHR) certification from the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) in Alexandria, VA. She brings a wide range of specialties in operations, HR implementation, employer and employee regulations, small business operations and employee engagement to her role as board member.

When asked what she is passionate about, Julie responded 鈥淚 find that what I鈥檓 enthusiastic about has evolved.鈥 She continued 鈥淚 really enjoy creating experiences with friends and family. I enjoy being outdoors, doing things like gardening, kayaking, and boating in summer, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling in winter. I really appreciate being outdoors. My passion is in creating a fuller life as I mature. I want to have experiences with my family and grandchildren.鈥

Julie has found that it is important to achieve a work-life balance and be there for both family and work. 鈥淢y greatest accomplishment is my family,鈥 she noted. 鈥淭he resilience I have experienced with my mom getting Multiple Sclerosis and taking care of her, along with the loss of my brother, my personal triumph is in raising my family. I was able to achieve much of my growth in my career without needing a big educational base to launch from. I feel immensely proud of my achievements.鈥

Julie was attracted to becoming involved at RCAP Solutions because of the housing programs, which she believes are essential for success. 鈥淧ersonally, I saw my mom go back into the workforce after not working for many years,鈥 she commented. 鈥淪eeing how RCAP provides housing services is paramount to resetting someone in a difficult position. Empowering people beyond just providing vouchers was intriguing to me, I felt I could relate and have good insight.鈥

Julie went on to say 鈥淩CAP鈥檚 mission of improving the quality of life for individuals, giving them what they need are tools for success.鈥 She stated, 鈥淚 am very big on accountability, and I believe that ownership of that success and vision, and ownership of your actions is a good balance with self-reliance and self-sufficiency. The financial literacy and first-time homebuyer workshops and other housing services provide the benefit of giving, and seeing the ripple effects it can create for people, really relates to my core values.鈥

Julie noted that her skills and expertise complement RCAP鈥檚 mission. 鈥淢y mindset aligns with the board’s work, strategic planning, creating success, evaluating overall performance is very parallel with HR. I can relate to what you are doing, being able to add to that strategic insight and HR, both sides are human capital. Helping people solve a problem and see success.鈥 When asked about her experience volunteering on RCAP Solutions鈥 board, she observed 鈥淩CAP is open, inviting, educational, and what we are doing is huge. It鈥檚 not an intimidating environment and without any background, someone can come in and sit comfortably on the board and be able to provide their skills and benefit the organization.鈥

Julie has been involved in RCAP鈥檚 recent strategic planning process and has enjoyed seeing that come to fruition. 鈥淚t was much needed,鈥 she noted. 鈥淚 have spent a lot of time with entrepreneurs, telling businesses that they needed to re-strategize, work on goals, and focus on expectations and communications styles. Being a part of this process and hearing feedback from employees and partners has been beneficial. Strategic planning is a monumental rock, and for any organization, it鈥檚 like pushing it up a hill. I feel like I can continue to contribute to this area as it is similar to what I do as a consultant, and I can support the organization in that capacity. As we continue and finalize this process, that is something that we will all be enormously proud of.鈥

Julie’s full bio can be found on our website.

Solid Waste Case Study: Challenges with Illegal Dumping Elimination in the Community of Santa Rita in Gu谩nica, Puerto Rico

Written By: Edwin V谩zquez-Asencio, Sustainable Materials Management Specialist

BACKGROUND: This community was referred by the municipality a year before the grant period. The community has had a problem with illegal dumping and improper management of debris and waste, even when the municipality has services for debris collection and curbside for waste. Three areas were commonly used as illegal dumping sites. The largest impacted area is a 0.6-mile dirt road, with debris on both sides of the path that has been used for illegal dumping for more than 4 decades according to RCAP Technical Assistant Provider (TAP) evaluation.

THE CHALLENGE: The place is used for illegal dumping by small contractors, community residents and others. Bulky items such as furniture, mattress, home appliances, auto parts, e-waste, construction and demolition debris (C&D), vegetative materials, domestic waste, and animal carcasses are commonly dumped on this site. Motor oils, refrigerator fluids, paints, acrylic roof sealers have been found or are part of the materials in the site. Many of them are possible sources of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s), (hydrofluorocarbons) and heavy metals as well as other materials with constituents likely to contain PFAS, lead, and other regulated contaminants.

Vectors of diseases like the “Flesh Fly” (members of the subfamily Sarcophagidae), mosquitoes, cockroaches, rodents, mongoose (Herpestes auropuctatus 鈥 principal carrier of rabies in Puerto Rico), feral animals and community pets are commonly found in the area, creating a public health concern. In the rainy season the ditch behind the dumping site receives the runoff from the site and guides it to the community and the farms nearby. Many wells are in the area for agricultural purposes and drinking water that could be susceptible to any contamination from the dumping activities. The place is on the borderline of two municipalities and the road is not well defined as public or private property, creating additional challenges for investing in restoration by any of the municipal entities. The TAP presented the case to USDA looking for options for the community.

THE APPROACH & SOLUTION: An assessment was performed, and the results presented to the community and other stakeholders like the municipality, the PR Department of Natural and Environmental Resources, the PR Police Department, Public Works, and others.

The TAP presented the following plan of five steps to address the problem for short term, medium, and long-term results.

  1. Education and awareness of the community and establish a working group.
  2. Clean up to remove all dumped materials and dispose of them correctly and collect data about the materials removed for developing a long-term action plan.
  3. Add value, changing the appearance and promote the use of the area by the community as a walking place or other recreational activities.
  4. Maintenance plan to establish an adoption plan of the area and law enforcement support to reduce illegal dumping activities.
  5. Empower the community to develop activities that keep the area clean, organized, and build their capacity to address the situation and get financial support.

In the presentation for all the stakeholders and working group, the TAP covered important topics that included: PFAS, E-waste, Volatile Organic Compounds, Household Hazardous Waste and Vectors of diseases among other related information to create awareness of the problem and to validate and justify immediate action by the stakeholder group.

THE IMPACT: The community leaders are engaging in the remediation of the area used for illegal dumping for decades. The municipality and other stakeholders received technical instruction about the proper management of the area, and information about the problems associated with this situation including constituent materials and public health concerns that need attention. The community is receiving the skills and guidance to address the problem in conjunction with the stakeholders. This is an ongoing project in which the key stakeholders such as the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources, the PR Police Bureau, the Municipality of Gu谩nica and other are looking for alternatives with RCAP Solutions to help the community and eliminate this illegal dumping site. RCAP discussed the project with the local USDA Staff and Washington representatives to help these disadvantaged people and will continue the process to identify resources to tackle the problem with them. RCAP believes in community empowerment, capacity building, and sustainable management of their resources. These foundations complement RCAP’s technical support and lead the community to a better future and the solution of a problem they have been facing for decades. We are here for them!

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Organizado por: Asociaci贸n Interamericana de Ingenier铆a Sanitaria y Ciencias del Ambiente Cap铆tulo de Puerto Rico (AIDIS-Puerto Rico).

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Los sistemas de agua comunitarios se ven limitados econ贸micamente por la falta de una preparaci贸n econ贸mica adecuada ante los diferentes factores que influyen en la operaci贸n diaria de un sistema de agua. Es sumamente importante tener en cuenta que el estudio y planificaci贸n de una tarifa saludable, mantendr谩 el sistema en optimo funcionamiento y los preparar谩 para enfrentar cualquier situaci贸n inesperada que se pueda presentar. El taller le ofrecer谩 herramientas y conocimientos 煤tiles para entender y preparar una tarifa para un sistema de agua comunitario.

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El Informe de Confianza al Consumidor (CCR, por sus siglas en ingl茅s) es un informe que se debe enviar a los consumidores todos los a帽os sobre la calidad del agua que el sistema proporcion贸 a sus clientes. Se requiere que los sistemas incluyan entre otra informaci贸n, los contaminantes regulados detectados durante el monitoreo m谩s reciente.

En este taller se ofrecer谩 informaci贸n que le ayudar谩 a conocer, comprender y preparar el Informe de Confianza al Consumidor en su sistema.

‘Twas Mid December at RCAP Solutions…

‘Twas Mid-December and all through the skies,
RCAP teams with care and wise.
In every office, staff worked with glee,
Offering essential aid, as busy as can be.

The needy many, deserving of cheer,
In this season of giving, their hopes draw near.
For when the demand rises, so great and so clear,
RCAP鈥檚 dedication shines, year after year.

In our Housing Consumer Education Center,
We make sure every client has a supportive mentor,
To assist in all aspects of home ownership and leasing,
In case you should see a problem increasing,
If a concern should arise, there鈥檚 lending or training,
Should you find your bank account suddenly draining.

With Subsidized Housing, we help pay the rent,
Offering programs for both landlord and tenant.
Everyone deserves a safe home and a bed,
Where each family member can rest their head.
We can also assist with housing mobility,
And case management for economic stability.

Our Housing for Seniors and the Mobility Impaired,
Offers features and services that can鈥檛 be compared.
Our professional staff is supportive and giving,
With countless services for independent living.
For those who reside in RCAP鈥檚 great care,
Our teams will provide for ALL who live there.

Our Environmental Crew work with communities to ensure,
The water that pours from the tap is pure.
From Maine to Pennsylvania, we offer technical assistance,
For those in rural regions, we鈥檒l travel the distance.
Whether it鈥檚 wastewater, mapping, training, and more,
We鈥檒l assess your infrastructure, and help settle the score.

The Caribbean Team helps the islands with pollution,
Teaching about recycling, and solid waste solutions.
We offer disaster planning, and prepare for the future,
Should climate change impact your region and need suture.
Financial assistance for septic or well repair,
We鈥檙e here for our communities, never despair!

Here in Massachusetts, we鈥檙e Advocating for Change,
For private well homeowners, who may need a range,
Of regulations for education, testing, and support,
Should their water tests come up short,
And need repair to keep families in good health,
For every resident, across the Commonwealth.

Our Administrative Staff provides support to our programs,
IT keeps us online, and safely protected from scams.
Finance cuts checks and keeps the books in balance,
HR supports the organization, hiring people with talents.
Marketing ensures the public is in the know,
And Development guarantees that funding won鈥檛 slow.

In the Northeast our influence spreads, far and wide in stride,
In Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands, forever shall we reside.
Fostering community鈥檚 power, potential, a bond we unify,
In this commitment, our focus and unity lie.

Nurturing strength, resilience, and confidence, our gift to bestow,
Supporting individuals, families, communities, helping them grow.

Timothy Grinham, RCAP Solutions Board Member

Timothy Grinham, a Commercial Banking and Lending Specialist at S&P Global Market Intelligence, joined the RCAP Solutions Board of Directors in July of 2022.

Headquartered in New York City, S&P Global is a world-wide leader providing financial services information. Tim works in their Market Intelligence division, working with financial institutions under $5 Billion in Total Assets on workflow automation and commercial prospecting.

Tim has a professional background in technology, banking, lending, real estate, and brings over 20 years of experience in finance, investment, and sales management to his role on the board. He has extensive knowledge of working with federal funding sources, financing, managing customer accounts and portfolios, developing business opportunities, customer service, and training.

When asked what he likes to do with his free time, Tim responds, 鈥淔or me, it’s all about family time. I spend as much time as possible with my wife and my two daughters and am excited to be coaching my daughters in soccer and basketball.鈥 In his spare time, he enjoys reading, catching up on current events, banking news and the stock market.

Tim was drawn to the banking profession almost by accident. 鈥淲hen I graduated in 2002, I walked into a large recession due to 9/11,鈥 he stated. 鈥淭here was not much activity going on in the job market, so I stumbled into the mortgage industry. It was a good opportunity with rates dropping and I was able to get into refinancing existing debt. I began the first part of my career in the residential market and later became involved in commercial banking.鈥

He had always wanted to pursue a career in technology, and in his current position, he is able to draw from his previous experience working with banks, credit unions, and smaller institutions, providing them with technological solutions for their information service needs.

Tim received his BA in Business Management from Johnson State College in Johnson, VT. His volunteer experience includes board membership with Worcester Community Housing Resources, the Town of Paxton Capital Improvements Committee, and as a mentor for SBA workshops and business incubation companies in and around MA.

When asked what Tim feels his greatest professional achievement is, he mentioned the impact that banking and commercial lending can have in the community. 鈥淲e moved to the Worcester area in 2014,鈥 he stated. 鈥淚 was very excited to start a position lending with a bank located in downtown Worcester. Over the course of the next several years, I was able to be a part of the Worcester economy during a growth period. I take a lot of pride when traveling through Worcester and seeing the businesses that I worked with throughout my career and knowing that I had a small part in the positive impact on the area. I find it extremely rewarding to drive around the city with my family and say, 鈥業 worked on that building, or I or helped to finance those renovations.鈥欌

He went on to say, 鈥淲hat I miss most about banking is the positive involvement in the community, which is what drew me to RCAP Solutions. I want to support the work the organization does in both the urban and rural areas of the region.鈥

Tim believes 鈥渋t鈥檚 critically important to serve both markets, especially in these times of economic uncertainty, when there are factors outside of our control.鈥 He went on to say, 鈥淩CAP is a great organization to be involved in. Because of the range of programs, we have an opportunity to serve many communities and a diverse client base.

As a relatively new board member, Tim considers his time volunteering with RCAP to be a positive experience. 鈥淚’ve learned a lot about the services RCAP offers,鈥 he states. 鈥淲hen I came to the organization, I was familiar with the housing and lending services. Now that I have really gotten involved, I鈥檓 extremely impressed with how much the organization and staff accomplishes.鈥 He has enjoyed getting to know the board members and employees. 鈥淚 think the staff is incredible,鈥 he remarked. 鈥淭hey work hard and do an excellent job. I have really appreciated learning more about the teams and their programs.鈥

Tim looks forward to completing the year-long strategic planning process that the organization is undergoing. 鈥淚 anticipate that once we鈥檙e implementing it, we will see the positive impact that it has on both the organization and the clients that we work with.鈥 He concluded by saying 鈥淚t’s just been a great experience, and I look forward to continuing to see the organization do great work.鈥

Tim’s full bio can be found on our website.

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La Regla Revisada de Coliformes Totales tiene como fin el promover mayor atenci贸n a la operaci贸n, mantenimiento y cumplimiento del sistema de agua potable de tu comunidad, como medida para lograr mayor protecci贸n a la salud de sus usuarios. Este adiestramiento te ayudara a revisar y reforzar la pr谩ctica de realizar los muestreos bacteriol贸gicos requeridos; interpretar los resultados e investigar que acciones debes tomar para corregir y volver a producir agua confiable, libre de coliformes.

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La operaci贸n, mantenimiento y cumplimiento de un sistema de agua potable comunitario ser谩 exitosa en la medida que su Junta Comunitaria sepa dirigir y unificar la comunidad. Es necesario seleccionar bien sus miembros y que cumplan con sus roles y responsabilidades. La comunidad completa es responsable de lograr que as铆 sea. Presentaremos los puntos importantes para lograr ese objetivo.

A trav茅s de este adiestramiento conocer谩s los roles de cada miembro de la junta, la importancia del reglamento y procedimientos parlamentarios, sus aspectos legales y la 茅tica que rige su manejo.

隆Es importante que cada comunidad adquiera las herramientas necesarias para el 茅xito!

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Presentaremos los conceptos b谩sicos de la regla y como la implementaci贸n de la misma ha reducido el riesgo de exposici贸n al plomo que puede causar da帽o al cerebro, los gl贸bulos rojos y los ri帽ones, especialmente para los ni帽os peque帽os y las mujeres embarazadas. Repasaremos los conceptos de las revisiones a la regla y las mejoras propuestas. Veremos los nuevos niveles (Tiers) para los muestreos. Por 煤ltimo, se presentar谩n detalles para realizar el inventario de las l铆neas de servicio en comunidades peque帽as.

Tracey Weeden, MSW, LCSW/LICSW; RCAP Solutions Board of Directors, Vice Chair

Tracey Weeden is the Executive Director of Brockton Behavioral Health Facility at Boston Medical Center and joined the RCAP Solutions Board of Directors in January of 2021.

She has extensive experience in the healthcare and nonprofit arena, with a background in administration, behavioral health, and homelessness prevention. In her previous position as Chief Operating Officer for First Step of Sarasota, she focused on affordable behavioral health treatment and system of care optimization. She also has experience managing a private practice as a psychotherapist.

Tracey was drawn to social work because of her childhood experiences growing up in an urban environment. She remarked 鈥渢here was a lot of violence, parentification, mental illness, and substance misuse. But amid the prevalence of trauma, there was also so much hope for a better way of life. At an early age I was interested in other people鈥檚 stories and potential. When I went to college, I did not know what I wanted to do, but knew I wanted to break the cycle of oppression in the community I had grown up in. I majored in social work, and it just felt right. At an early age, I felt sensitive to others鈥 needs and seemed to be able to put myself in someone else鈥檚 shoes. Although I don鈥檛 make it a practice to disclose my experiences, oftentimes I deeply understand the barriers to quality of life clients experience.鈥

Tracey is a former employee of RCAP Solutions, where she was a member of the leadership team, as Director of Counseling and Homeless Services. 鈥淲hen I was at RCAP, I absolutely loved the work,鈥 she commented. 鈥淲orking at RCAP, I showed up 100% every day for the organization and our clients. They were long days, but it was all worth it. RCAP is deeply mission driven. RCAP鈥檚 services for people in need is undeniable. Who wouldn鈥檛 want to be a part of a community, helping people where they are and supporting them as they move to a better place? RCAP鈥檚 work aligns with my values and everything I stand for as a social worker, a woman, and a woman of color.鈥

Tracey went on to say 鈥淩CAP鈥檚 work comes down to people helping people. This resonates with me and is what鈥檚 unique about RCAP. The employees genuinely want their clients to achieve a better quality of life. At RCAP we are paying it forward.鈥

Tracey feels strongly about being an active board member. 鈥淚 want to be a real objective resource to the leadership team and a sounding board. I understand the culture and dynamics as a social worker and as a businesswoman.鈥

When talking about her experience serving on the board, Tracey exclaimed, 鈥淚t鈥檚 been fun! I like the diverse expertise the volunteer team brings to the table. The board is open to looking at things differently and trying new ideas. This will determine the sustainability of the organization overall. The board is engaged, understands the impact of the work, and is realistic about what it takes to provide services. It鈥檚 very exciting to be a part of this energized board.鈥

When asked about her future goals for the organization, she replied, 鈥淚 hope that a year from now we are in the process of implimenting a successful, operational, and people-driven strategic plan. I believe we can really put RCAP on the map as a leader in all aspects of community and environmental services.鈥

Tracey is a self-published author and has volunteered for the City of Worcester鈥檚 Human Rights Commission and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health鈥檚 suicide prevention initiative. She is currently a Commissioner for the Massachusetts Status of Woman of Plymouth County. Tracey earned a MS in social work at Boston University and is working towards her Doctorate degree in Business Administration with a focus in Health Services Administration at Northcentral University. She brings a deep understanding of the programmatic, funding, and strategic needs of the organization, along with nonprofit leadership, fundraising and community outreach.

When asked about her personal and professional achievements, Tracey commented, 鈥渋t was always a goal for me to do more of the work in helping others to grow and lift themselves out of traumatic environments. I鈥檓 proud of that. In this field of social work, there are not many Black People or Native Americans in leadership positions. I don鈥檛 see a lot of 鈥渕e鈥 represented and I will never take it for granted. I hope to be an example and to inspire others.鈥

In her free time, Tracey enjoys creating things. 鈥淚 love candle making, jewelry making, upcycling furniture, gardening, and creating a new space in my yard or home. It helps me relax. Being creative helps me to think outside of the box overall. I enjoy focusing on the hobby and it鈥檚 extremely relaxing for me.鈥

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La operaci贸n adecuada de un sistema de agua potable marcar谩 la diferencia en la calidad de agua que le sirven a sus comunidades y en el tiempo de vida de los componentes de su sistema. Tambi茅n podremos prevenir un mal manejo y/o violaciones a la reglamentaci贸n de agua potable siempre y cuando prevengamos algunos escenarios importantes que se discutir谩n durante este taller. Cubriremos diferentes t贸picos que le ayudaran a mejorar la calidad de agua y la operaci贸n de su sistema. Entre ellos: protecci贸n de fuentes de agua, sistemas de distribuci贸n, calidad de agua, conexiones cruzadas, limpieza, desinfecci贸n y mantenimiento de su tanque de distribuci贸n, desinfecci贸n adecuada y certificaciones de la NSF para componentes y qu铆micos del sistema de distribuci贸n.

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La Puerto Rico Water & Environment Association (PRW&EA), American Water Works Association (AWWA) en conjunto con Rural Community Assistant Partnership (RCAP Inc.) y RCAP Solutions, Inc., ofrecen este taller en l铆nea, libre de costo y subvencionado por la Agencia de Protecci贸n Ambiental (USEPA). El objetivo de este adies-tramiento es promover y asistir a los sistemas comunales de tratamiento de agua potable a cumplir con la regla-mentaci贸n federal y estatal.

Es un taller de dos d铆as y va ayudar al personal a cargo de la operaci贸n, con el mantenimiento y la administraci贸n de los sistemas comunales peque帽os, conocidos como los Non-PRASA. Los sistema de agua potable peque帽os enfrentan m煤ltiples retos para producir y distribuir agua potable, confiable y segura a todos los residentes de su comunidad. El mantener el sistema de tratamiento en cumplimiento promueve y mejora la salud p煤blica, y ayuda a eliminar los problemas que conducen a posibles violaciones de ley de Agua Potable Segura (SDWA)

Repasar谩n y aprender谩n de conceptos de cumplimiento de la reglamentaci贸n de agua potable; medidas para aumentar y mantener el cumplimiento con la reglamentaci贸n.

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La Puerto Rico Water & Environment Association (PRW&EA), American Water Works Association (AWWA) en conjunto con Rural Community Assistant Partnership (RCAP Inc.) y RCAP Solutions, Inc., ofrecen este taller en l铆nea, libre de costo y subvencionado por la Agencia de Protecci贸n Ambiental (USEPA). El objetivo de este adies-tramiento es promover y asistir a los sistemas comunales de tratamiento de agua potable a cumplir con la regla-mentaci贸n federal y estatal.

Es un taller de dos d铆as y va ayudar al personal a cargo de la operaci贸n, con el mantenimiento y la administraci贸n de los sistemas comunales peque帽os, conocidos como los Non-PRASA. Los sistema de agua potable peque帽os enfrentan m煤ltiples retos para producir y distribuir agua potable, confiable y segura a todos los residentes de su comunidad. El mantener el sistema de tratamiento en cumplimiento promueve y mejora la salud p煤blica, y ayuda a eliminar los problemas que conducen a posibles violaciones de ley de Agua Potable Segura (SDWA)

Repasar谩n y aprender谩n de conceptos de cumplimiento de la reglamentaci贸n de agua potable; medidas para aumentar y mantener el cumplimiento con la reglamentaci贸n.

RCAP Solutions’聽2022聽Impact Report 鈥 A Year of Rejuvenation

2022 was a year marked by growth, development, and ultimately rejuvenation as RCAP Solutions began its rebound from a tumultuous and transformational time. View our 2022 Impact Report to learn more about last year’s accomplishments and check out stories from the people we serve!

We thank our partners and continued supporters and invite you to join us as we continue to work towards a collective vision of a world made up of strong and resilient communities and individuals, confident in their potential and with ownership of their success.

We look forward to a productive 2023 as we remain steadfast in our commitment to fulfilling our mission: To foster personal and public self-reliance and improve the quality of life for individuals, families, and the communities in which they live.

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Esta reconocido tanto en Estados Unidos como en Puerto Rico que la infraestructura esta envejecida. Esto incluye carreteras, puentes, entre otros. Tambi茅n la infraestructura de los sistemas de agua y de alcantarillado.

En Puerto Rico en los sistemas de agua comunitarios gran parte de los componentes de su infraestructura de agua pudieran estar cerca de completar su vida 煤til o han excedido su vida 煤til estimada.

En los sistemas rurales los componentes son las tomas superficiales, pozos, tanques de distribuci贸n y las tuber铆as que transportan el agua, entre otros. El manejo responsable de los componentes de los sistemas de agua comunitarios es fundamental para mantener un nivel de servicio aceptable de agua que cumpla con los est谩ndares de calidad establecidos.

Solid Waste Case Study: Municipality of Comer铆o, Puerto Rico’s Recycling Program Re-Opening, Facilities, and Permits

Written By: Edwin V谩zquez-Asencio, Sustainable Materials Management Specialist

BACKGROUND: After the hit of hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, the high volume of debris and waste stressed the limited capacity of Comer铆o鈥檚 municipality to deal with it. They depend on a small Transfer Station (TS) for the management of the materials and waste to be disposed. A Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) with noticeable challenges was part of the strategy but it ends in the closing of the program in 2019, adding significant pressure to their TS and incrementing the cost of the operation running over its capacity. The process to reopen the MRF and reduce the waste, and the operational cost required an operator with technical knowledge about the materials but also, about facilities, development, and permits.

THE CHALLENGE: The new operator was established as a non-profit organization, different than the municipality, and should work on the existing facilities. New permits were required, and the regulators requested protocols for noise and contamination controls, and the information to support the actions to be taken. The operator鈥檚 limited capacity and the lack of information on the part of the regulators made this task difficult and the permit was denied.

THE APPROACH & SOLUTION: The RCAP TAP conducted a brief assessment of the MRF facilities and revised the regulation about the specific request. All the equipment specifications and facility areas were considered in the evaluation, including noise generation according to the industrial levels permitted. Sound levels were taken and recommendations to establish the necessary controls were discussed with the operator. The information required to satisfy the permits鈥 application was included, based on the regulations. The TAP consulted with the regulators and the application was submitted by the operator granting the permits that were previously denied.

THE IMPACT: This project is of great importance, since it is a model based on the expansion towards the circular economy of materials that are not currently processed in Puerto Rico. It is expected that this MRF will become a HUB for the processing of materials collected by other communities and municipalities. For the Municipality of Comer铆o, it is very important since it immediately reduced the cost of operating the TS, and the final disposal of materials that can be recovered from the waste stream. The RCAP TAP continues to provide guidelines and alternatives to improve the system, and coordinated a meeting with USDA to evaluate possible grant programs that could help in the development of the facilities.

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驴Es el agua de mi comunidad potable? 驴C贸mo puedo saberlo? Es importante conocer la calidad del agua que tomamos diariamente. Para eso, es necesario realizar los muestreos requeridos por la Ley de Agua Potable Segura (SDWA), pero debemos saber interpretar esos resultados. De eso se trata este adiestramiento, conocer los contaminantes regulados por la ley y cada una de las partes de una hoja de resultados de muestreo de esos contaminantes.

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La regla de Notificaciones Publicas (PNR) por sus siglas en ingles conlleva una responsabilidad que recae en cada sistema de agua p煤blico de notificar a sus clientes sobre violaciones que excedan los niveles m谩ximos de contaminantes (MCL), cambios en tratamiento, u omisi贸n de toma de muestras entre u otros. Las condiciones que pudieran poner en riesgo la salud de sus clientes conllevan una obligaci贸n para notificarles y que estos sepan que medidas deben tomar para proteger su salud. En este taller estaremos brindando informaci贸n sobre los requisitos de la notificaci贸n p煤blica, brindaremos ejemplos y discutiremos c贸mo podemos mejorar nuestra operaci贸n cuando enfrentamos situaciones que pudieran poner en riesgo a la salud de sus clientes.

RCAP Solutions’ Caribbean Team Participates in USDA Rural Development Stakeholder Meeting with Secretary of Agriculture

Written By: Juan Campos Collazo, Community Specialist

The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Thomas Vilsack, hosted a discussion with stakeholders in Puerto Rico, including community groups and economic development officials, to discuss the importance and impact of the Rural Partners Network (RPN). The purpose of this conversation was to encourage further development of the community networks. Secretary Vilsack wanted to hear directly from stakeholders about the benefits, opportunities, and their hopes for the RPN in Puerto Rico.

Background: In April 2022, the Biden-Harris Administration and USDA launched the Rural Partners Network, an all-of-government program to help people living in rural areas access federal funding and resources to create thriving communities. The network is working in 36 rural and tribal community networks; three of those community networks will serve regions in Puerto Rico. These community networks were selected through a series of deliberations with state directors and teams from RPN states, and additional consultations with prospective community networks. Each of these networks will be supported by up to four full-time federal staff who live and work locally. These community liaisons help communities navigate federal programs, build relationships, identify community-driven solutions, and develop successful applications for funding.

Cohort I: The first RPN Cohort was announced in April 2022 and included the launch of community networks in Arizona, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, and New Mexico.

Presently, participating community networks are selecting their initial projects and refining their long-term priorities (i.e., future projects); USDA will organize federal partners to support these initial projects in an effort to secure early wins on behalf of the network. Additionally, thirteen staff have been hired to support these community networks with the only outstanding positions being an additional liaison in Mississippi, Kentucky, and New Mexico, and supervisory positions in Mississippi, Georgia, and Kentucky. Every Cohort I state has some level of RPN staff in place that are engaging with networks to facilitate a community-driven vision.

Cohort II: The second RPN Cohort includes Wisconsin, West Virginia, Nevada, Puerto Rico, Alaska, and North Carolina. Secretary Vilsack announced the inclusion of Puerto Rico in November 2022, but did not announce the specific community networks in Puerto Rico (nor in Alaska) since the selection process was interrupted by recent natural disasters.

Secretary Vilsack wanted to know from each of the panelists about the kind of work we do and how it relates to the Rural Partners Network. RCAP Solutions staff explained that we are part of a national affiliate, the Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP), providing rural communities with on-site technical assistance and training to help small, rural communities address their drinking water, wastewater, and other community development needs. In addition, RCAP Solutions staff elaborated on how we help these communities access dollars from state and federal agencies for necessary infrastructure upgrades and improvements. RCAP Solutions also acts as a liaison between these communities and USDA Rural Development funding programs in Puerto Rico. The technical assistance provided by RCAP Solutions to the communities is free of charge and is funded under the grants from the USDA , EPA, and HHS.

A question arose from the secretary about what we consider to problems in achieving economic development. The mayor of Coamo, Puerto Rico pointed out the decrease of population as one of the most relevant problems, because of the lack of professionals, the decrease of laborers, and the decrease of economic movement. The mayor of Villalba, Puerto Rico mentioned the lack of agriculture development in Puerto Rico as a problem, and noted a dependance on foreign imports.

RCAP Solutions expressed that not all the rural communities have the commitment to improve their capacity and our work depends on community collaboration to achieve their goals and improve their quality of life.

Finally, the secretary advised to all the partners, especially the mayors, to first identify an economical driver and then write proposals based on it. He referenced the example from the mayor of Villalba, who identified the agriculture as an economical driver. The meeting ended with the thanks from Secretary Vilsack and from the USDA Rural Development State Director for Puerto Rico, Maximiliano Tujillo.

Juncos’ Landfill Repairs and Expansion After Hurricane Maria

Written By: Edwin V谩zquez-Asencio, Sustainable Materials Management Specialist

Juncos municipality is in the eastern central region of Puerto Rico. Juncos鈥 landfill receives approximately 35,105 tons of non-hazardous solid waste each year. In 2017, winds from Hurricane Maria destroyed the facility鈥檚 leachate collection system, creating a serious health and safety hazard for neighboring communities and was at risk of contaminating underground water resources and nearby streams. The storm鈥檚 effects also reduced the landfill鈥檚 capacity by 20% and severely reduced its predicted lifespan.

The main challenge was to define the project and determine how the municipality could finance the necessary repairs that were imperative to address this problem. Our goal was to protect the community鈥檚 health, assist them in achieving compliance, and support the transition of the facility into a sanitary landfill system. In addition, the community also needed to account for the capacity overflow due to the extraordinary amount of debris which the landfill received in the aftermath of the disaster.

The RCAP Solutions staff served as a fundamental liaison between the municipality, stakeholders, and USDA Rural Development as we assisted the municipality in achieving compliance. Our technical assistance provider coordinated and conducted a training about disaster assistance grant funding and guided them throughout the process, outlining key elements to completing a successful application for USDA funds.

USDA Rural Development awarded Juncos鈥 Municipality with $23.7 million in grant funding to repair its landfill facilities. The facilities will be expanded to achieve compliance, and in addition, the community鈥檚 health will no longer be at risk due to the damage caused by the hurricane.

 
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