The City of Washington has renewed its membership in the Indiana CLEAN Community Challenge program, once again making strides on the road to becoming a more sustainable and environmentally friendly community.
CLEAN stands for Comprehensive Local Environmental Action Network. The CLEAN Community Challenge is a voluntary recognition program for local Indiana government entities that make significant commitments to environmental management. CLEAN helps communities take steps to plan, develop and implement a Quality of Life Plan, which focuses on reducing the potential environmental impacts associated with municipal operations and community-wide activities. CLEAN communities are designated for a three-year term.
With Washington’s renewal, the city will maintain its CLEAN community status for three more years. As part of the renewal process, Washington has established five new environmental goals, which include:
• Increasing walking path distances and sidewalks within the City of Washington by five blocks
• Giving away at least 400 trees to the public, planting 100 trees on city property, and establishing at least three rain gardens or wetland projects in order to increase the planting of native plant species in the city
• Reducing paper usage by 10 percent in various municipal offices, including city hall, the mayor’s office, utility buildings, the clerk’s office, and within the CLEAN committee
• Expanding collection for household hazardous waste items such as ink cartridges, batteries, and fluorescents, both on city properties and within the community by 2 percent
• Developing a litter campaign for the community
Washington joined the Indiana Department of Environmental Management’s (IDEM's) CLEAN Community Challenge program in January of 2010, and put initiatives in place at that time for reducing electricity, studying alternatives for reducing winter road chemicals, increasing mulching and composting in the community, reducing fuel consumption, and increasing recycling. In recent years, Washington has also worked to address its combined sewer overflows (CSOs), placing an emphasis on storm water control and improving aesthetics by retrofitting existing retention basins and integrating a constructed wetland. The wetland treatment system project received a 2013 Engineering Excellence Honor Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies.
“CLEAN is a wonderful program for cities to participate in order to take a stand to enhance and improve the quality of life for its citizens to ensure we have great places to live, work and do business,” said Joe Wellman, Mayor of Washington. “The City of Washington is excited to begin their second term of the CLEAN Community Program and looks forward to making a difference for those in our community by working on walking paths, increasing native species plantings, and decreasing litter. We also plan to increase our household hazardous waste collections and decrease paper usage in the city departments.”
Huntingburg and Tell City are other CLEAN communities in the Southwest Indiana area whose leaders have established similar initiatives to improve quality of life. Huntingburg’s environmental initiatives include reducing paper use, chemical use electricity consumption, and increasing recycling. Tell City’s goals include working to clean up and revitalize the city’s downtown area, developing a business recycling program, promoting community gardens and composting, and reducing residential and business electricity usage.
To learn more about the CLEAN Community Challenge program, or participate, communities should contact Susan Harrington, program coordinator with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM), at (317) 233-9339, (800) 988-7901, or sharring@idem.IN.gov.
About IDEM’s Office of Pollution Prevention and Technical Assistance
IDEM’s Office of Pollution Prevention and Technical Assistance houses IDEM’s Confidential Technical Assistance Program (CTAP) and Pollution Prevention and Recycling Section. CTAP was established to help Indiana businesses achieve compliance with environmental regulations with staff who are experts on air, water, and waste regulations. CTAP staff work with businesses to assess the environmental compliance of their entire facility or can help address concerns about a particular process or regulation. CTAP provides on-site consultations, permit application assistance, training, and workshops. Services offered by CTAP are free and confidential. The Pollution Prevention and Recycling Section works with businesses, communities, citizens and municipalities to encourage pollution prevention and recycling through networking opportunities, recognition programs, and various outreach strategies. For information on pollution prevention programs and resources, including CTAP, visit www.idem.IN.gov/prevention.
IDEM (www.idem.IN.gov) implements federal and state regulations regarding the environment. Through compliance assistance, incentive programs and educational outreach, the agency encourages and aids businesses and citizens in protecting Hoosiers and our environment.