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Become a CLEAN Community

Communities across Indiana are improving the quality of life for their residents by joining CLEAN and implementing projects that reduce environmental impacts. Encourage your community to take the CLEAN Challenge today!

  • View Application Resources
  • Set up a meeting with the CLEAN Program Manager or renew your membership by submitting an Indiana CLEAN Community Challenge Renewal (State Form 51826, available on the IDEM Forms page)

Questions? Please contact the CLEAN program manager.

In order to be eligible to participate in the Indiana Comprehensive Local Environmental Action Network (CLEAN) Community Challenge, applicants must select four environmental goals to work on over the course of the four-year CLEAN Community Challenge term. The program is designed to be flexible and allow local governments choose activities that fit their community goals. The CLEAN Community Challenge program manager is available every step of the way to guide applicants through the process by providing document templates, facilitating stakeholder meetings, and coordinating technical assistance when necessary.

Basic Steps For Joining The Program

The CLEAN Community Challenge Membership Checklist [PDF] outlines the activities that are necessary to achieve CLEAN Community Challenge membership.

Costs Of Membership

There is no fee to participate in the Indiana CLEAN Community Challenge. Meeting the requirements of the program will involve employee time during the planning, development, and implementation phases, but participants will receive free assistance during each step of the process.

Eligibility Requirements

The Indiana CLEAN Community Challenge is open to all local governments, including cities, towns, and counties, in the state of Indiana. For the purpose of the Indiana CLEAN Community Challenge, local government is defined as an organized governing entity authorized by the state of Indiana's constitution and statutes, and is established to provide general government and municipal services for a defined area. Private entities that provide municipal services under contract are excluded from the local government definition.

To be recognized as an Indiana CLEAN Community, local governments must have a positive environmental, health, and safety record. Those with negative past records must demonstrate improvement in recent history and provide a detailed plan of continual improvement in the future. Unresolved compliance issues or enforcement actions involving the local government may eliminate it from consideration. The following compliance policy outlines examples of when a CLEAN designation may be denied from an applicant or revoked from a participating community:

Criminal Activity:
  • Corporate criminal conviction or plea for environmentally related violations of criminal laws involving the corporation or a corporate officer within the past 5 years.
  • Criminal conviction or plea of employee at the same facility for environmentally related violations of criminal laws within the past 5 years.
  • Ongoing criminal investigation/prosecution of the community, community official, or employee at the same facility for violations of environmental law.
Civil Activity:
  • Three or more significant violations with the local government in the past 3 years (those violations referred to IDEM's Office of Enforcement).
  • Unresolved, unaddressed Significant Non-Compliance (SNC) or Significant Violations (SV).
  • Planned but not yet filed judicial or administrative action.
  • Ongoing U.S. EPA or state initiated litigation with the local government.
  • Situation where a local government is not in compliance with the schedule and terms of an order or decree.

As with other recognition programs, those communities with outstanding violations and enforcement actions may not be eligible for the CLEAN Program until each is remedied to IDEM's satisfaction. Those applicants with a history of non-compliance may not be eligible for the CLEAN Program until they have demonstrated at least one to two years of satisfactory compliance.

Mission Statement
  • Establish a mission statement that commits to compliance with:
    • Requirements and voluntary commitments
    • Pollution prevention
    • Continuous environmental improvement
    • Sharing environmental decisions and performance information with the community
Environmental Activities And Goals
  • Assign clear roles and responsibility for stakeholders and local government personnel to implement the environmental activities and goals.
  • Identify the governmental departments to be included.
  • Identify and prioritize the environmental aspects associated with the local government’s operations and describe the prioritization process.
  • Select four of the aspects to minimize their environmental impact.
  • Establish an objective and target for each of the four aspects.
  • Develop and implement action plans to achieve each target.

For communities designated as or within a Multiple Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) that are applying for the CLEAN Community Challenge Program, the MS4 measurable goals may not be utilized as the CLEAN Community Challenge goals since the MS4 measurable goals are required under 327 IAC 15-13-12 through 17.

Implementation And Monitoring Progress
  • Submit an annual performance report to IDEM (available on the IDEM Forms page).
Community And Business Outreach

A key component of the Indiana CLEAN Community Challenge is tailoring environmental efforts to each community's needs and desires through outreach to local citizens and businesses. In order to ensure involvement from community and business members, local governments must demonstrate their community and business outreach commitment in their CLEAN Application.

Application Materials

After the applicant has worked with the CLEAN program manager to develop a four initiatives, the applicant must submit the following:

  • A completed CLEAN Community Challenge Program Application - State Form 51826 (available on the IDEM Forms page).
  • Letters of Recommendation: Letters from at least three local community organizations (one environmental, one business, and one citizen organization) are required. The letters must be signed, written on the organization’s letterhead, and describe the organization’s support of the applicant’s participation in CLEAN.

Project Ideas

IDEM’s CLEAN program manager will guide you through a step-by-step process of first identifying your community’s environmental aspects and impacts, prioritizing those impacts, and selecting environmental goals based on your most significant impacts. Communities can explore ideas for potential projects by reviewing the projects of current CLEAN members or browsing the Environmental Activity Suggestions webpage.

Financial assistance may be available from various state and federal sources to help fund potential CLEAN projects.

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