Ontario County Adopt-A-Highway Program

About the Program

​The Ontario County Department of Public Works (DPW) administers the Adopt-A-Highway program for volunteers to tackle trash along County Roads.  DPW provides the training, gear and collection bags.  Participating organizations provide the muscle!

​If your group is interested in adopting a section of County Road please call the DPW Main Office at 585-396-4000.  Pertinent forms can be viewed by clicking here or by going to the 'Adopt-A-Highway Forms' page, located in the menu to the left.

​Our goal?  To keep Ontario County clean and green.
Put litter in its place, away from Ontario County's natural resources.  By taking part in this program, you can:
  • Reduce environmental and safety hazards.  Eliminating toxic debris allows plants and wildlife to thrive on land and in water without harm and permits travelers to enjoy the outdoors without risks of injury from accidents or illness from disease.
  • Save money. A cooperative effort controls cleanup costs for everyone and lessens the need to impose penalties. In New York State, a litterbug can be fined up to $350 for a first offense and up to $700 for subsequent violations. In either case, there also may be a requirement to perform public service.
  • Generate pride. Upgrading the quality of life brings people together and maintains economic viability through shared goals of promoting vitality, commerce and tourism and of lowering the threat of fires and crime.
With more demands on our transportation system and on our natural resources, the need to whittle our waste is increasing.  Federal studies have found an average two-mile stretch of highway can contain roughly 32,000 pieces of litter.

Adopt-A-Highway Key Points

  • Volunteer groups, organizations or businesses may adopt a segment of highway as long as there are no other adopters of that segment.
  • An adopted highway segment is usually 2-miles long but this length may vary.
  • DPW must determine that the segment to be adopted is safe for voluntary beautification.
  • Volunteers must be at least 12 years-old; volunteers between 12 years-old and 17 years-old must be supervised.
  • All volunteers must sign releases and enter into formal agreements with the County.
  • Volunteers groups must provide a minimum of ten (10) volunteers.
  • Volunteers must provide proof of insurance as shown in the following document: Ontario County Adopt-A-Highway Standard Insurance Provisions.
  • Each Adopt-A-Highway agreement is for 2-years and is renewable provided the volunteers have functioned in accordance with their previous agreement.
  • Volunteers must obtain a Highway Work Permit from DPW (Click here to view Highway Work Permit information); DPW will waive the standard permit fee
  • Adopt-A-Highway agreements may be terminated if the volunteers fail to perform in accordance with the signed agreement
  • DPW reserves the right to deny participation to any proposed volunteers whose participation would not be in the best interest of Ontario County
  • DPW collects and properly disposes of the litter the volunteers have collected

Adopt-A-Highway Safety Checklist

Rules of the Road
  1. All program participants must wear the new ANSI Class II hi-vis reflective vest supplied by the County while on the cleanup site.  NO EXCEPTIONS!
  2. Only Ontario County issued trash bags may be used at the cleanup site. All filled bags must be placed in a plainly visible location off the shoulder of the road. (If possible, place filled bags away from homes & businesses). Recyclable materials should be taken home with you for refund.
  3. All 12-to-17 year old participants must be supervised and there must be at least one (1) adult supervisor for every six (6) 12-to-17 year old participants.
  4. No more than ten (10) cars are allowed at the cleanup site. Participants are urged to car pool to the cleanup site.
  5. No food or alcoholic beverages shall be consumed at the cleanup site. No illegal substances shall be allowed at the cleanup site.
  6. All the tools and supplies you came with upon leaving the cleanup site must be taken with you. Remember, any supply or tool left behind could cause injury and create a potential liability for your organization and Ontario County.
  7. All participants must behave in a responsible manner at all times. No horseplay or throwing trash allowed. Remember, passersby tend to associate all highway workers as government workers. You are representing not only your organization, but Ontario County as well.
  8. Absolutely no horseplay. No work shall be done on the paved area of the road under any circumstances. Participants must never walk on guide rail or lean over bridge railings. Participants shall not operate or work near power equipment.
  9. One person on each cleanup shall serve as project coordinator. The coordinator shall have a cellular telephone able to call 911 in an emergency and shall provide the telephone number to the County. The coordinator shall be responsible for insuring that all materials borrowed from the county are safely stored, kept clean and in working order. This includes all signs, vests and unused garbage bags. The coordinator shall also be responsible for insuring proper placement, continuous locating and retrieval of the roadwork warning sign. Participants are encouraged to avoid over exertion and project coordinator should make arrangements to provide drinking water to all participants. The roadwork warning signs shall be used at all cleanup sites without exception. Participants are encouraged to work in such a way as to face on-coming traffic. Participants shall not work on or clean up litter on or from private property outside the County right-of-way.
  10. BE ALERT. All participants should watch out for motorists distracted by the activities taking place off the road.
  • Volunteers must wear County issued safety vests at all times.
  • Volunteers are to wear long pants and the appropriate footwear on the job; DPW recommends leather shoes or boots rather than sneakers.
  • Volunteers are advised to wear work appropriate work gloves whenever they are doing highway work.
  • Volunteers are encouraged to wear hats and use sunscreen
Natural Environment
  • Volunteers with environmental allergies should take their medications appropriately and those allergic to insects or bees should have antihistamine or epinephrine at the ready
  • It is recommended that volunteers use DEET and wear long pants to avoid ticks and other insects
  • Volunteers should be aware of the possibility of contact dermatitis from certain weeds and/or poison ivy that may be found in the work space

Whom to Contact?

​Ontario County Department of Public Works:
​2962 County Road 48
​Canandaigua, NY 14424

​Tel: 585-396-4000
​Fax: 585-396-4283