Newsbriefs February 6

by Laura Turner

Rural Community Assistance Partnership Announces Guidebooks

The federally funded non-profit Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP), which works to improve the quality of life in rural communities, has produced three new guidebooks to assist small, rural communities in the management and operations of their drinking water and wastewater systems.

"Sustainable Infrastructure for Small System Public Services: A Planning and Resource Guide" provides information, worksheets, examples, case studies and resources about water conservation, energy efficiency and renewable energy resources for small utilities.

This planning and resources guide includes a step-by-step process for a utility's decision-makers and staff and community members wanting to operate increasingly efficient utilities. It offers a flexible approach to evaluating sustainable alternatives for a utility's operations.

"Formulate Great Rates: The Guide to Conducting a Rate Study for a Water System" walks users through several worksheets that examine various aspects of customer usage levels and revenue. Detailed instructions, including calculations, are provided for each worksheet, which can be completed by hand or in electronic versions that accompany the PDF version of the guide on the RCAP website. The guide also explains how rate structures impact the financial management of a system.

"Getting Your Project to Flow Smoothly: A Guide to Developing Water and Wastewater Infrastructure" describes all of the steps the governing body of a utility should go through in planning, designing and constructing infrastructure and is a very detailed how-to on all phases of the process.

The guide discusses roles and responsibilities of the parties in a project - owner, engineer, inspector and contractor. It explores actions necessary to secure funding, how to stay organized and how to maintain control of a project, and includes many pitfalls to avoid.

Funded as part of an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the publications are among 10 guides, as well as related multimedia resources, that RCAP produced last year. All guides are available at

Details: Communications Manager Mark Kemp, National Environmental Services Center, West Virginia University, at (800) 624-8301 or

Boston Provides Winter Coats to Public Housing Residents

Boston has kicked off an effort to distribute new winter coats to every child aged 3 to 12 living in Boston Housing Authority developments.

The "New Coats for the New Year" drive was introduced January 21 at an event at Maverick Landing, one of six developments that received new coats that day.

"Every child deserves a winter coat to keep them warm and healthy during these cold winter months," said Mayor Thomas M. Menino.

"At a time when food prices are rising, and heating oil prices are setting all-time highs, the difference something as simple as a new, warm winter coat can make cannot be underestimated," said Paul S. Grogan, president and chief executive officer of the Boston Foundation, which is partnering with the city.

"New Coats for the New Year" sprang from a discussion between a foundation vice president and Richard Sanford, founder and chairman of Operation Warm, which provides new winter coats to children in need through strategic and community partnerships with a variety of donors and community organizations around the country.

The coats were distributed by volunteers from the foundation, housing authority and Winn Management at the event, as well as at the Sportsmen's Tennis and Enrichment Center. About 1,000 children received coats.

Details: Press Office at (617) 635-4461.