Concurrent Education Session

Helping Rural Communities with Solid Waste Management (1 CEU)

Tuesday, August 21
3:15 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Bayou CD

Moderator: Ashley Zuelke, Director of Research and Programs, Rural Community Assistance Partnership, Inc.

This session will showcase recent examples of on-site assistance designed to help rural communities provide environmentally sound waste disposal facilities to their residents while protecting public health and encouraging economic development. The Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP) and its network of regional partners provide technical assistance and training to reduce or eliminate pollution of water resources and improve planning and management of solid waste sites in rural communities. Through U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development grants, RCAP’s network has assisted more than 70 rural communities and counties in 24 states and Puerto Rico.


Debbie Hackman, Solid Waste Technical Advisor, Indiana Rural Community Assistance Program

Debbie Hackman

Debbie Hackman is a graduate of Purdue University, with a degree in organizational leadership. She serves as executive director for the Jackson County, Indiana, Solid Waste District and solid waste technical advisor for the Indiana Rural Community Assistance Program. She is vice president of Hoosier Chapter of SWANA and is also is the advisor for the Board of Directors of the Indiana Association of Solid Waste Districts. She is SWANA Certified and an instructor for the Managing Recycling Systems, Composting and Integrated Solid Waste Management Systems courses.

Melissa Melton, Technical Assistance Provider, Rural Community Assistance Partnership, Inc.

Melissa Melton

Melissa Melton has worked as a Technical Assistance Provider for the Rural Community Assistance Partnership, Inc. since 2003 providing onsite technical assistance to small rural communities with various water, wastewater, and solid waste needs achieving/maintaining compliance with SDWA/CWA. She performs infrastructure needs assessments to identify utilities priority needs to ensure appropriate assistance delivery. Ms. Melton earned a B.S. from Western Kentucky University while working for USDA. Upon graduation, Ms. Melton continued in the community development field started at USDA and that has been her career path for thirty (30+) years. Ms. Melton is a licensed DW Distribution III Operator.

Patrick Walker, SERCAP South Carolina State Manager, Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project, Inc.

Patrick Walker

Patrick T. (Pat) Walker joined Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project, Inc. (SERCAP) in 2012 as a technical assistance provider responsible for technical training and assistance for solid waste management and recycling. He currently serves as the SC Manager for SERCAP and oversees drinking water, wastewater, solid waste programs and projects funded by USDA-Rural Development, HHS-Office of Community Services and U. S. EPA.