Green Neighbors Program

The Clark County Green Neighbors Program was developed and is maintained by Clark County Solid Waste and Environmental Outreach to assist citizens with developing more sustainable lifestyles and building a strong environmental community in Clark County. Solid waste regional planning and programs are a cooperative effort of Battle Ground, Camas, Clark County, La Center, Ridgefield, Vancouver, Washougal, and Yacolt. Funding for this project provided by a grant from the Washington State Department of Ecology.

Clark County makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information provided on this web site. However, due to the possibility of transmission errors, HTML browser capabilities, changes made since the last update to the site, etc., neither Clark County, nor any agency, officer, or employee of Clark County warrants the accuracy, reliability, or timeliness of any information published by this system, nor endorses any content, viewpoints, products, or services linked from this system, and shall not be held liable for any losses caused by reliance on the accuracy, reliability, or timeliness of such information. Portions of such information may be incorrect or not current. Any person or entity that relies on any information obtained from this system does so at his or her own risk.

In offering information on the Web, Clark County seeks to balance our requirement for public access with the privacy needs of individual citizens. Information that appears on the Clark County Web site is part of the public record. By law, it is available for public access, whether by telephone request, visiting county offices, or through other means.

This site contains links to other websites. Clark County is not responsible for the privacy practices or the content, accuracy or opinions expressed on such websites, and such websites are not investigated, monitored or checked by us for accuracy or completeness. Inclusion of any linked website on our site does not imply approval or endorsement of the linked website by us.

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Contact Details

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Clean water

  • Pet Waste

    Clark County has almost 110,000 dogs, of all shapes and sizes, and their poop adds up to about 15,000 tons per year. Pet waste left on the ground can be washed into storm drains that lead directly to our streams and wetlands. This waste carries harmful bacteria, which can affect the health of aquatic wildlife, ourselves and our children.

     

    Related articles: Clean Water | Legacy Lands

  • Green Quizzes

    We put together some quizzes to help you test your green living knowledge. Choose any quiz to start.

  • WA State Dept of Ecology

    Water is a valuable resource in Washington. Using our resources wisely will help us fill the needs of people, industries, businesses and farms, while also keeping fish and other aquatic life alive and well. Across the state these water users have diverse needs and goals; we must find a way to share limited, fluctuating supplies. For tips and conservation ideas for your home and business, see the Department of Ecology's water conservation website.

  • Clark conservation district

    A great local resource is the Clark Conservation District, whose mission is to protect, conserve, and improve natural resources. The District focuses on water quality, soils management to limit erosion and run off, and critical habitat areas. Staff conduct outreach and education of best management practices, enhancement, and development to benefit present and future citizens.

  • Our streams

     

    Clark County has 10 watersheds that all drain to the mighty Columbia River. Clark County’s Clean Water Division staff monitors many of the waterways to better understand their health. Staff reviews a wide variety of parameters for water quality, including metals, fecal coliform, pH, temperature, etc. They also inventory the biological diversity of the aquatic bugs, also called macroinvertebrates. Like the old adage of a canary in a coal mine, aquatic bugs are indicators to how healthy the waterways can be for sensitive species. The pdf2010 Stream Health Report is a condensed summary of our local waterway health. Visit the Clean Water Division’s web page for more in depth information about stream health. What watershed do you live in?

    Find your watershed

  • Rainwater

     

    Rain that falls in our community either soaks into the ground or runs off a hard surface to be collected in a feature, such as a drain or stormwater facility. Collected runoff may evaporate back into the air, but most of it continues its journey to our local creeks, streams and rivers. As rainwater runs across surfaces, it can pick up dirt, oil, grease, trash and other contaminants.

    Clark County has regulations in place that help engineers, planners, and builders collect rainwater and treat it to remove contaminants and allow the water to soak back into the ground. Many of these features are called Low Impact Development (LID). LID features include rain gardens, bioretention, green roofs, pervious pavement and design layouts that protect natural areas and vegetation.

    Learn more about LID in our community

  • You can help

    We all play a role in keeping those waters clean in our everyday actions at home, work, school and play. Simple stewardship actions can help keep pollution from reaching our waterways. In Clark County, our stormwater drains go directly to stormwater facilities or the creeks themselves. It is important to realize what could get into a storm drain, besides rain water. Learn more to make sure your everyday actions are protecting our watershed. 

    Read more

    clean water help article

    Pick up pet waste

    Pet waste left on the ground can be washed into storm drains that lead directly to our streams and wetlands. This waste carries harmful bacteria, which can affect the health of aquatic wildlife, ourselves and our children.

    More resources

    Fix auto leaks

    If you see discoloration (like a rainbow) in the water running down the street during a rainstorm, there is pollution up stream. Check your vehicle for leaks and get it fixed. When your car leaks fluids, it is often a sign of a larger problem that can lead to major engine damage and possibly an expensive repair bill.

    Oil and other vehicle fluids from cars are toxic. Fix your leak so that vehicle fluids don’t end up in puddles where kids and pets like to play!

    Vehicles drip millions of quarts of motor oil into the Columbia River basin every year. Oil and other petroleum products can harm wildlife and habitat. When it rains, stormwater runoff carries pollution to creeks, streams and rivers.

    Only rain down the drain

    In your neighborhood, streets drain downhill to a storm drain. These drains are connected to pipes that carry the water to a local creek, stream or river. It is important to remember that we need to keep all contaminants and pollution OUT of the storm drains.

    Make sure you properly dispose of waste materials like paint or motor oil. Many of these items can be recycled or reused. Also keep soaps, herbicides and pesticides out of water by following directions on the product labels and not using on hard surfaces that can wash to the drain.

    Help educate your neighbors by volunteering to mark a message on your neighborhood’s drain “Protect Water – Only Rain in Drain.” Clark County loans out stencil kits for free! These are a great community service, school or scout project.

    Water wise farms

    If you are a small acreage or farm property owner, there are number of steps you can take to protect the health of your property and your watershed. Our partner at WSU Extension hosts workshops on topics to benefit your property, such as understand your soils, managing stormwater runoff and tips for healthy animals.

    Your landscape is part of the solution

    Everyone loves a lush lawn, beautiful plants and a healthy hard for you to call home. There are lots of great ideas to help you protect stormwater runoff from pollution while creating your dream landscape. Learn about Grasscycling, use of native plants, healthy plant care, gardening tips, and water conservation techniques.

  • How to conserve

     

    First, it’s helpful to understand the 3 categories of water and then consider how you can conserve, save, and waste less:

    1. Blue water is fresh water from lakes, rivers, and sub-surface water or groundwater.
    2. Green water is rain which falls directly on crops.
    3. Greywater is water generated from domestic activities such as laundry, dishwashing, and bathing. It may contain traces of dirt, food, grease, and certain household cleaning products. While greywater may look “dirty,” it is usually safe to be recycled or reused for uses such as landscape irrigation and constructed wetlands.

    A note on bottled water: drinking bottled water itself doesn’t negatively affect our fresh water supplies. But, we should be aware that to manufacture the plastic bottle, 6.74 times the amount of the water in the bottle is used. Not to mention the other energy and resources used and the fact that 86 percent of water bottles end up in landfills!

    When looking at your own water use, begin by observing how much you waste. Do you have a leak in a faucet or a shower head that drips? That leaky faucet or shower could be losing almost 14 percent of the total water you use.

    Some no and low-cost tips for saving water inside your home:

    Dishes

    • Run your dishwasher only when it’s full.
    • Don’t run water continuously when washing dishes by hand. The average dishwasher uses about 10 gallons of water per load. Washing the same number of dishes by hand takes about 16 gallons. Newer, efficient dishwashers use as little as 5 gallons per cycle, which means they also consume less energy to heat the water.

    Faucets

    • Fix leaky faucets immediately. A leaky faucet, dripping once per second, wastes six gallons of water a day.
    • Install low-flow aerators on every faucet.
    • Don’t leave the water running when brushing your teeth or shaving. With the tap running at full force, shaving takes 20 gallons of water, teeth-brushing takes 10 and hand-washing takes two.

    Bath & Laundry

    • Wash only full loads of laundry, or use the proper water level setting for your load size.
    • Take shorter showers and use less water in your bath. A full bathtub requires about 36 gallons of water. A five-minute shower using a water-conserving showerhead will use just 15 to 25 gallons. Showers and baths account for one-third of most families’ water use.

    Toilets

    • Don’t use the toilet as a wastebasket. Each flush wastes water.
    • Check toilets for leaks.
    • Did you know 30 percent of your indoor water is used flushing the toilet? Your older toilet could be using way more than the new low flush toilet. If your older toilet flushes 3.5 gallons per flush, one person can use as much as 7,135 gallons per year just to flush a toilet. But, if you have a toilet that flushes 1.0 gallons per flush, one person can consume as little as 1,928 gallons per year. These “improved” toilets rely on an efficient bowl design and increased flushing velocity — instead of extra water — to remove wastes. If you’re thinking about making the switch, get recommendations about the best models from retailers and plumbers who have installed or used low-volume toilets.

    If you’re willing to invest a little money to use less water, consider installing water-efficient toilets, faucets and showerheads.

    For more information about water conservation, check out the Home Water Works website. It’s packed full of good tips and resources.

  • Conservation resources

    Water Resources Education Center

    Whether exploring Vancouver’s Water Resources Education Center’s website or visiting their beautiful facility overlooking the Columbia River in Vancouver, you'll find a world of information designed to inspire us to become better stewards of our water resources. Teaching people of all ages how to wisely use this important, life-giving natural resource is what the Water Resources Education Center is all about. Visit the Water Resources Education Center: 4600 SE Columbia Way Vancouver, WA.

    Nature Conservancy

    The Nature Conservancy also has great information about the average water footprint in America and the “hidden” water we each consume.

    Clark Conservation District

    A great local resource is the Clark Conservation District, whose mission is to protect, conserve, and improve natural resources. The District focuses on water quality, soils management to limit erosion and run off, and critical habitat areas. Staff conduct outreach and education of best management practices, enhancement, and development to benefit present and future citizens.

    Washington State Department of Ecology

    Water is a valuable resource in Washington. Using our resources wisely will help us fill the needs of people, industries, businesses and farms, while also keeping fish and other aquatic life alive and well. Across the state these water users have diverse needs and goals; we must find a way to share limited, fluctuating supplies. For tips and conservation ideas for your home and business, see the Department of Ecology’s water conservation website.

  • Photo contest

     

    Send us a photo of your Clean Water Canine wearing its new bandana and receive a free magnet photo frame! We will also add your photo to our website and include your name in our monthly drawing for a bone-shaped bag dispenser.

    Submit a Photo

    To submit a photo, email info@clarkgreenneighbors.org. Please be sure to include your name, your dog’s name, and your address.

    Clean Water Canines Photos

    The Clean Water Canines photos can be found on Buddy the Clean Water Dog’s Facebook page. The page can be found through this link: Buddy the Clean Water Dog

  • Posters & resources

  • Fact Sheets

    Clark County offers a multitude of fact sheets and booklets that provide ways you can actively help reduce pollution in our waters.

  • Talking to neighbors

    Neighbors for Clean Water (NCW)

    NCW is a program administered by the Clark County Clean Water program, designed to make it as easy as possible for residents around Clark County to confront the problem of pet waste in their neighborhoods. The program is an extension of Clark County Canines for Clean Water, which helps people learn about the benefits of scooping the poop.

    Tips for talking to neighbors about pet waste

    • Put up a sign in a problem spot
    • Institute a weekly "Pick-up Day"
    • Set up a public bag dispenser

    Resources

    flyershadowweb

    To request signs and brochures, please contact sally.fisher@clark.wa.gov.

    Resources and materials only available for residents of unincorporated Clark County. Supplies are limited.

  • Home Assessments

    Use our home assessment forms to conduct Green Audits around your house! First, download the pdf for each assessment from the green box on the right. After you’ve completed each assessment, come back and click on the corresponding button below to report your results to us online. This info will help us provide better resources and tips for you in the future!

  • Drinking water

    Residents of Clark County obtain drinking water through public or private water systems.

    • Private water systems (i.e., individual wells) supply drinking water to 24% of Clark County residents which is about 31,000 systems servicing 93,000 people.
    • The majority of residents (75%) are served by large public water systems which include the large municipal systems. The vast majority of our water in Clark County comes from four underground aquifers, which are tapped by wells.
    • The City of Vancouver is the fourth largest provider of drinking water in the state of Washington, serving up 8.95 billion gallons to more than 200,000 people, all provided from groundwater sources. The City of Camas sources water from both surface and groundwater. In addition to 8 wells, water is drawn from Boulder and Jones Creeks. In addition, the City of Battle Ground, the City of Ridgefield, and the City of Washougal each provide water services for those communities and Clark Public Utilities provides public water services throughout most other areas of the community.

    Here is a pdfcross-section of the hydro-geologic structures in Clark County. For more information, call Clark Public Utilities at 360-992-8023.

  • Protecting groundwater

    Ways you can help protect groundwater and personal health

    If your property has a water well, make sure to conduct annual well checkups. In addition to protecting groundwater, yearly water testing and well maintenance can prevent costly maintenance, prolong the life of your well and prevent illness from fecal bacteria, nitrates and other contaminants. See the Washington State Department of Health’s website on safe drinking water and Clark County’s Public Health website for additional water well testing and maintenance information.

    You can also protect groundwater and personal health by:

    • Keeping hazardous chemicals, such as paint, fertilizer, pesticides and motor oil far away from your well.
    • Maintaining a “clean” zone of at least 100 feet between your well and any kennels or livestock operations.
    • Periodically checking the well cover or well cap on top of the well casing to ensure it is in good repair and securely attached. Its seal should keep out dirt, insects and rodents.

    Another way to protect groundwater is to conserve it. Groundwater is a limited resource. In Clark County, groundwater aquifers supply almost all the water for drinking, agriculture, and other uses. Increasing demands on water supplies and droughts have made conserving water more important. Everyone can start by monitoring everyday water use around the home. For water-saving tips, see the EPA’s WaterSense website.

    Residents with on-site septic systems can also protect groundwater by ensuring their system is inspected regularly. See Clark County’s Public Health website on septic systems for more information.

    As residents of the rainy Pacific Northwest, we might assume that clean, fresh water will always be ours for the asking. But pollution, urbanization, and other population pressures challenge this assumption. Clark County administers the Clean Water Program to safeguard the quality of our water and comply with the federal Clean Water Act. For more information, see the EPA’s website about the Clean Water Act.