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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.

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
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.