NOTICE: Ecology will suspend certain services starting July 1 in the unlikely event the Legislature does not enact state budgets before July 1. More information about suspended services.

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Public Records Disclosure


Washington law, RCW 42.56, requires Ecology to promptly make available to the public identifiable records for inspection and copying upon request.


In the event of a government shutdown, effective June 30, 2017

An important notice to public records requesters during government shutdown due to lack of appropriation authority

We regret that at this time, the agency’s public records office is not open for business due to a lack of budget appropriation and the resulting government shutdown. We are not able to process public records requests while the office is closed. When the office reopens, more time will be needed to process requests because we anticipate there will be a backlog of pending requests, as well as new requests that may have been submitted during the shutdown.

This posting:

  • Details below describe how public records requests will be processed after the office reopens.

  • Provides public records requesters with notification that additional time will be needed to process current and new records requests. This notice also serves as the five business-day acknowledgment of requests as described below (RCW 42.56.520).

  • Is provided to give the fullest assistance to requesters (RCW 42.56.100). We hope to reopen soon. The estimates of time below may be affected by the number of days the office is closed, as well as the volume of any pending backlog of requests or new requests submitted while shut down. As a result, the estimates and this notice may need to be adjusted accordingly. We will update this notice after we reopen, if needed. Please check back after we reopen.

Thank you for your patience. If you have questions after the office reopens, you may contact the Public Records Officer, Linda Anderson at 360-407-6040.

SCHEDULED APPOINTMENTS FOR RECORDS INSPECTIONS

  • If public records requesters had scheduled an inspection of records at the office during the time the office is shut down, that appointment is hereby cancelled and will be rescheduled.

  • Within 15 business days of the office reopening, or from the date of the last communication from the agency (whichever is later), requesters will be contacted to reschedule their appointment. This is an estimate of time. The office anticipates it will inform requesters if this estimate needs to be revised.

PUBLIC RECORDS REQUESTS PENDING AT THE TIME OF OFFICE SHUT DOWN

  • Public records requesters who had requests that were being processed when the office was shut down (and which requests were previously acknowledged) are hereby notified that their requests will continue to be processed after the office reopens. However, the office will need more time to process those requests.

    If requesters were awaiting further information or records from the office, they are advised that within 15 business days of the office reopening or the date of the last communication from the office (whichever is later), requesters will be informed of the status of their requests or receive other information about their requests. This is an estimate of time. The office anticipates it will inform requesters if this estimate needs to be revised.

  • Public records requesters who had requests that were pending at the time the office was shut down (and which could not be acknowledged due to the closure) are hereby notified that this posting is their five business-day acknowledgment and estimate of further time to respond (RCW 42.56.520). Those requests will be processed once the office reopens.

    However, the office will need more time to process those requests. Within 15 business days of the office reopening, requesters will be informed of the status of their requests and be provided a more detailed estimate of time or further response. This is an estimate of time. The office anticipates it will inform requesters if this estimate needs to be revised.

NEW PUBLIC RECORDS REQUESTS SUBMITTED WHILE THE OFFICE IS SHUT DOWN

  • New public records requests that are submitted during the time the office is shut down will be designated as received on the day the office reopens. The office will provide additional information to these requesters on the status of their request and an estimate of further time the office needs to respond, within five business days from the date the office reopens.

  • If needed due to the backlog or volume of new requests, this website notice alternatively serves as the initial five business-day acknowledgment under RCW 42.56.520, providing an estimated further response time of 15 business days of the office reopening.

What is a Public Record?

Any writing which contains information that relates to the transaction of government business. “Writing” means all documents, including but not limited to paper records, electronic records, emails, photographs, recordings, etc. An identifiable record is defined as a record that can be reasonably located by agency staff. Only records exempt by law may be withheld from disclosure.

Instant Records Search

Try looking in our online databases. Ecology makes many records available at no cost with instant access. Our publications are also searchable.

Request Records

Still not finding what you need? You can request public records by filing a records request with our Public Records Officer. Download our Records Request Form (PDF) and return to:

Ecology's Public Records Officer
Email: PublicRecordsOfficer@ecy.wa.gov
FAX: 360-407-6989
Mail: Public Records Officer
WA Dept. of Ecology
PO Box 47600
Olympia WA 98504-7600

What Happens When a Request is Submitted?

Within five business days of receipt of your request, Ecology will do one of the following:

  1. Request clarification of the request;
  2. Provide the record;
  3. Provide an internet address and link to the specific record requested;
  4. Deny the request; or
  5. Acknowledge that your request was received and provide a reasonable estimate of the time required to respond to the request. When the records have been gathered, you will be contacted with:
    • Dates(s) available to review the records at an Ecology office and/or,
    • An estimated cost of copying or scanning the records (Copy fees).
    • If the request is large, we may contact you to make arrangements for providing the records in installments.

Records Exempt from Public Disclosure

There are certain records that are exempt from production under the Public Records Act, RCW 42.56; however there are also other statutes that contain additional exemptions from disclosure. If records are being withheld or portions blacked out (redacted) under an exemption, you will receive a log detailing which records have been withheld/redacted, the statute that is being relied on for the exemption and a brief explanation of how the exemption applies. If you have questions regarding exemption, please contact the Public Records Officer at (360) 407-6040.