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Pollution Prevention

Pollution Prevention > CLEAN Community Challenge > How to Join the CLEAN Community Challenge Program How to Join the CLEAN Community Challenge Program

In order to be eligible to participate in CLEAN, applicants must develop and implement a Quality of Life Plan and select five environmental goals to work on over the course of the three-year CLEAN term. The program is designed to be flexible and allow local governments choose activities that fit their community goals. The CLEAN 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 Membership Checklist [PDF] outlines the activities that are necessary to achieve CLEAN 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.

    Quality of Life Plan Requirements

    To join CLEAN, local governments are required to develop and implement a Quality of Life Plan. The Quality of Life Plan addresses continuous improvement and management of the community's environmental issues above and beyond regulatory compliance. Local governments form a CLEAN stakeholder committee and, with the guidance and assistance of the CLEAN program manager, develop the following components of the Quality of Life Plan:

    Mission Statement
    • Establish a mission statement that commits to compliance with:
      • requirements and voluntary commitments;
      • pollution prevention;
      • continuous environmental improvement; and
      • sharing environmental decisions and performance information with the community; and
    • Adopt the mission statement through an Executive Order, Resolution, or Ordinance.
    Environmental Activities and Goals
    • Assign clear roles and responsibility for stakeholders and local government personnel to implement the Quality of Life Plan;
    • Identify the governmental departments to be included in the Plan;
    • Identify and prioritize the environmental aspects associated with the local government’s operations and describe the prioritization process;
    • Select five of the aspects to minimize their environmental impact;
    • Establish an objective and target for each of the five aspects; and
    • Develop and implement action plans to achieve each target.
    Implementation and Monitoring Progress
    • Describe how you will maintain the Quality of Life Plan documentation;
    • Ensure employees' environmental awareness and competence;
    • Develop and implement a plan for environmental emergencies;
    • Develop a process for revising your Quality of Life Plan and/or correcting implementation problems as necessary;
    • Establish procedures for internal and external communication regarding environmental issues and community concerns;
    • Develop and implement an annual internal audit procedure and document audits performed; and
    • Submit an annual performance report to IDEM.
    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 by including the following information in the Quality of Life Plan:

    • Describe how you will inform the community and businesses of important issues related to the community's environmental performance; and
    • Describe how you will provide the community with information regarding progress toward achieving the objectives and targets for each of your five environmental projects.

    The Quality of Life Plan Checklist [DOC] outlines the required elements of the Quality of Life Plan. Examples of CLEAN communities’ Quality of Life Plans can be found on the CLEAN Member Quality of Life Plans and Annual Performance Reports webpage.

    Application Materials

    After the applicant has worked with the CLEAN program manager to develop a Quality of Life Plan, the applicant must submit the following:

    • 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.
    • Completed Quality of Life Plan with all required attachments.

    Project Ideas

    As part of the Quality of Life Plan development process, 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 [PDF] or browsing the Environmental Activity Suggestions webpage.

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

    CLEAN Community Challenge