Privacy notice

Our website contains a wealth of useful information. We are glad you're here. To make your website experience better, we collect and use specific information about your visit. Find out what we we collect, how we use it, nondisclosure of your personal information, and public access to information collected.

This privacy notice covers the following topics:

​A. Introduction
B. Information collected and how it is used
C. Personal information and choice
D. Public access to information
E. Nondisclosure of certain personal information
F. Review and correction of personally identifiable information
G. Cookies
H. Security
I. Links other websites

Section A. Introduction

Thank you for visiting the Department of Ecology's website and reviewing our Privacy Notice. This statement addresses collection, use, and security of and access to information that may be obtained through use of Ecology's web site. This notice covers the following topics:

  • Information collected and how it is used
  • Personal information and choice
  • Public access to information
  • Nondisclosure of certain personal information
  • Review and correction of personally identifiable information
  • Cookies
  • Security
  • Links to other websites
  • Contact Information

Section B. Information collected and how it is used

What information we collect if you only browse this site

If you do nothing during your visit to our website but browse, read pages, or download information, we will automatically collect and store the following information about your visit:

  1. The Internet Protocol address and domain name used. The Internet Protocol address is a numerical identifier assigned either to your Internet service provider or directly to your computer. We use the Internet Protocol address to direct Internet traffic to you. This address can be translated to determine the domain name of your service provider (e.g. or;
  2. The type of browser and operating system you used;
  3. The date and time you visited this site;
  4. The web pages or services you accessed at this site; and
  5. The website you visited prior to coming to this website.

The above information does not identify you personally. This information is logged and used by Ecology only to determine how our website is being used, so that we may improve the site's usefulness to the public.

What information we collect if you volunteer it

If during your visit to our website you participate in a survey, send an email, or perform some other transaction online, the following additional information will be collected:

  1. Your email address and the contents of email, if you communicate with us via email.
  2. Other information volunteered by you.

The information collected is not limited to text characters and may include audio, video, and graphic information formats you send us.

We use your email to respond directly to you, to address issues you identify in your email, and/or to forward to another agency for appropriate action. Survey information is used for the purposes identified in the surveys. Information from other online forms is used for the purposes identified on each form.

Section C. Personal information and choice

You may choose whether to provide personal information online.

"Personal information" is information about a natural person that is readily identifiable to that specific individual. Personal information includes such things as an individual's name, address, and phone number. A domain name or Internet Protocol address is not considered personal information.

We do not collect personal information about you unless you voluntarily provide it to us by sending us email, participating in a survey, or completing an online form. You may choose not to contact us by email, participate in a survey or to provide any personal information using an online form. Your choice to not participate in these activities will not impair your ability to browse Ecology's website and read or download any information provided on the site. If you choose to not use email, participate in a survey or use an on-line form, you can contact the agency by mail or telephone; see Ecology Directory.

If personal information is requested on the website or volunteered by the user, state law and the federal Privacy Act of 1974 may protect it. However, this information is a public record once you provide it, and may be subject to public inspection and copying if not protected by state or federal law.

If you believe that your personal information is being used for a purpose other than what was intended when submitted, you may contact Ecology as shown in the Contact Information section at the end of this Notice.

Users are cautioned that the collection of personal information requested from or volunteered by children online or by email will be treated the same as information given by an adult, and may be subject to public access.

Section D. Public access to information

In Washington, laws exist to ensure that government is open and that the public has a right to access appropriate records and information possessed by state government. At the same time, there are exceptions to the public's right to access public records that serve various needs, including the privacy of individuals. Exceptions are provided by both state and federal laws.

All of the information collected at this site becomes public records that may be subject to inspection and copying by members of the public, unless an exemption in law exists. RCW 42.17.260(1) states that

Each agency, in accordance with published rules, shall make available for public inspection and copying all public records, unless the record falls within the specific exemptions of subsection (6) of this section, RCW 42.17.310, 42.17.315, or other statute which exempts or prohibits disclosure of specific information or records. To the extent required to prevent an unreasonable invasion of personal privacy interests protected by RCW 42.17.310 and 42.17.315, an agency shall delete identifying details in a manner consistent with RCW 42.17.310 and 42.17.315 when it makes available or publishes any public record; however, in each case, the justification for the deletion shall be explained fully in writing.

In the event of a conflict between this Privacy Notice and the Public Records Act or other law governing the agency’s disclosure of records, the Public Records Act or other applicable law will control.

Section E. Nondisclosure of certain personal information

Ecology may request or require you to provide certain personal information in order to obtain selected information or service from the agency. You may choose not to provide this information, but if you choose not to provide it, we will be unable to provide the selected information or service, and you will have to seek the information or service in person, by phone or by mail.

The following laws may prevent Ecology from disclosing the personal information about you: RCW 42.17.130, 42.17.260,42.17.255, 42.17.310, 43.21A.160, 70.94.205, 70.105.170 and 90.52.020.

Section F. Review and correction of personally identifiable information

You can review any personally identifiable information we collect about you by using the information in the Contact Information section at the end of this Notice. You may recommend changes to your personally identifiable information you believe to be inaccurate by submitting a written request that credibly shows the inaccuracy. We will take reasonable steps to verify your identity before granting access or making corrections. (RCW 43.105.310)

Section G. Cookies

To better serve our users, we use "cookies" to customize your browsing experience on some parts of Ecology's website and to better understand user behavior to help guide ongoing site enhancements. Cookies are simple text files stored on your computer by your web browser. We use cookies only to store a randomly generated identifying tag on your computer. Cookies created on your computer by using this website do not contain personally identifying information and do not compromise your privacy or security.

Section H. Security

This agency takes precautions to safeguard personal information you provide through our web services. This should not be construed in any way as giving business, legal, or other advice, or warranting as fail proof, the security of information provided via Ecology's website.

This site is also protected by an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate.  The means all transmitted data is encrypted, so any information that you provide is transmitted securely.  You can verify this by looking for https:// in the web address bar.

Section I. Links to other websites

Ecology's website has many links to other web sites. These include links to websites operated by other government agencies, nonprofit organizations and private businesses. When you click a link to another site, you are no longer on Ecology's website and this Privacy Notice will not apply. When you link to another website, you are subject to the privacy policy of that site. For more information, see our External content policy.

Records requests

To review your personal information, or request correction of your personal information, contact:

Ecology's Public Records Officer
FAX: 360-407-6989 
   Public Records Officer
   WA Dept. of Ecology
   PO Box 47600
   Olympia WA 98504-7600