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Site Information

Washington State Department of Ecology
Privacy Notice

Section A. Introduction

Thank you for visiting the Department of Ecology's Web site 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:

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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 Web site 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. xcompany.com or yourschool.edu);
  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 Web site you visited prior to coming to this Web site.

The above information does not identify you personally.  This information is logged and used by Ecology only to determine how our Web site 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 Web site you participate in a survey, send an e-mail, or perform some other transaction on-line, the following additional information will be collected:

  1. Your e-mail address and the contents of e-mail, if you communicate with us via e-mail.
  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 e-mail to respond directly to you, to address issues you identify in your e-mail, and/or to forward to another agency for appropriate action. Survey information is used for the purposes identified in the surveys. Information from other on-line forms is used for the purposes identified on each form.

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Section C. Personal Information and Choice

You may choose whether to provide personal information on-line.

"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 e-mail, participating in a survey, or completing an on-line form. You may choose not to contact us by e-mail, participate in a survey or to provide any personal information using an on-line form. Your choice to not participate in these activities will not impair your ability to browse Ecology's Web site and read or download any information provided on the site. If you choose to not use e-mail, 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 Web site 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 on-line or by e-mail will be treated the same as information given by an adult, and may be subject to public access.

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Section D. Public Access to Information

In the State of 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.

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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.

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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)

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Section G. Cookies

To better serve our users, we use "cookies" to customize your browsing experience on some parts of Ecology's Web site 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 Web site do not contain personally identifying information and do not compromise your privacy or security. 

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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 Web site.

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Section I. Links to Other Web Sites

Ecology's Web site has many links to other Web sites. These include links to Web sites operated by other government agencies, nonprofit organizations and private businesses. When you link to another site, you are no longer on Ecology's Web site and this Privacy Notice will not apply. When you link to another Web site, you are subject to the privacy policy of that site.

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Section J. Ecology Contact Information

You may contact Ecology as follows:

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

Public Records Officer
Department of Ecology
PO BOX 47600
Olympia, WA 98504-7600
360-407-7231 (FAX)

To offer comments about Ecology's Web site or about the information presented in this Privacy Notice:

Web Communications Manager
Department of Ecology
PO BOX 47600
Olympia, WA 98504-7600
360-407-6989 (FAX)

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Last revised: May 19, 2011