Community Partners for Clean Streams
The Community Partners for Clean Streams (CPCS) is a voluntary, cooperative effort between the Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner's Office and Washtenaw County businesses, institutional landowners and multi-family residential complexes. The goal of the program is to help identify practical, cost effective ways to protect Washtenaw County waterways through pollution prevention. CPCS is a cost-free initiative that provides information, technical advice and recognition to participants.
Environmental Protection Agency studies show that as much as 70% of all water pollution is caused by stormwater runoff. After a rain or melt event, water flows over roofs, parking lots, lawns, streets, and sidewalks. As the runoff flows over land, it picks up and carries a variety of pollutants including
- Oils and greases from the landscape
- Pet waste
Learn more about these pollutants (PDF).
It is then routed into a storm drain that flows directly into a local waterway. Many people believe stormwater is treated at a sewage treatment plant prior to discharge, but this is not the case.
The most effective way to protect Washtenaw County waterways is to prevent pollution before it ends up in stormwater. The cost of preventing pollution is generally one-tenth to one-hundredth of the cost of cleaning it up, so it is the best practice for both the environment and the economy.
Activities to Prevent Pollution
The Community Partners for Clean Streams Program works with Partners on the following activities to find cost-effective ways to prevent pollution:
- Fats, Oils and Grease Disposal for Food Service Providers
- Housekeeping Practices
- Maintaining Buildings and Pavement
- Maintaining Engineered Stormwater Controls
- Maintaining Equipment and Vehicles
- Maintaining Landscapes
- Managing Waste
- Site Design and Construction
Who Can Participate
The Community Partners for Clean Streams program is available to business, institutions, municipalities and multi-family residential complexes in Washtenaw County. We have approximately 130 active partnerships throughout Washtenaw County. View the CPCS - List of Partners.
Becoming a Community Partner is customer friendly. Our staff helps you complete all of the paperwork and provides partners with free assistance and technical advice to protect water quality.
- You can apply online or in person. A brief, on-site presentation of the program is offered.
- A water quality assessment is performed on-site by Community Partners For Clean Streams with the Partner. Business practices that may affect water quality are reviewed. This process takes approximately 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the size of the site.
- The Partner's Water Quality Assessment is compiled into a Water Quality Action Plan that is sent to the Partner
- Upon receipt of the signed Water Quality Action Plan, the Partner receives a letter of recognition and will receive a plaque indicating participation in the program. The plaque will be presented during the annual Environmental Excellence Awards Ceremony. The partnership will be renewed every five years.
Information Sheets & Brochures
The handbook and brochures listed below are available for download in PDF format.
Brochures & Information Sheets
- Paint Pointers Brochure (PDF)
- Prescription Drug Disposal Brochure (PDF)
- Fats, Oils and Greases Disposal Brochure (PDF)
View additional Educational Materials.
As a Community Partner for Clean Streams, you are eligible to apply for a mini-sponsorship to support a project. Awards are typically around $1,000 and are given to projects that help improve water quality. In the past, projects have included building rain gardens, restoring old rain gardens, building a worm composting system, and more!
Applications are due on April 15th. Winners will be announced on May 1st and summary documentation is due on December 31st.
View reports from past projects:
- Thurston Nature Center Rain Garden
- Gallup Canoe Livery Worm Recycling
- St. Luke's Rain Garden
- Thurston Nature Center Planted Shoreline Buffer
- Crossings of Ann Arbor Rain Garden
- Thurston Nature Center Rain Garden
- Emmanuel Lutheran Church Native Planting
- Allen Creek Preschool Rain Garden Maintenance
- Crossings of Ann Arbor Second Rain Garden
- Ypsilanti Township Native Plant Garden at Sugarbrook Park
Community Partners Recognition Program
The Community Partners for Clean Streams program places an advertisement in the local newspaper(s) to recognize the work our Partners do to prevent pollution and protect Washtenaw County's waterways.
All participating organizations to date are listed on our Community Partners for Clean Streams display, which is exhibited at community events and at local businesses.
Environmental Excellence Awards
Community Partners have the opportunity to be nominated for the annual Washtenaw County Environmental Excellence Awards. The event is cablecast and provides additional recognition to those who go above and beyond to protect the environment. Find out more on the Award web page.