Privacy Policy

Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department Privacy Notice

This notice addresses collection, use and security of and access to information that may be obtained through use of Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department (the Health Department) online resources. This notice covers the following topics:

  1. Information collected and how it is used
  2. Personal information and choice
  3. Public access to information
  4. Nondisclosure of certain personal information
  5. Cookies

1. Information collected and how it is used

When you visit our website and browse, read pages, or download information, we 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 webpages or services you accessed at this site; and
  5. The website you visited prior to coming to this website.

This information is logged and used by the Health Department to improve the content of our website services and to help us understand how people are using our website , so that we may continually improve the site's usefulness to the public.

If during your visit you participate in any activity involving the submittal of data the following information may be collected (but not limited to):

  1. Personal information for the purpose of registering and/or performing services;
  2. Information volunteered in response to a survey;
  3. The email address, and contents of the email, for those who communicate via email; and
  4. Information provided on any online form used to engage in the online transaction.

The information collected is not limited to text characters and may include audio, video, and graphic information formats you send us. The information is retained in accordance with Chapter 40.14 RCW, Preservation and Destruction of Public Records.

We use your email to respond appropriately. This may be to respond to you to address issues you may identify, to further improve our website, or to forward the email to another agency for appropriate action. Survey information is used for the purpose designated. Information provided on the online form is used to complete the online transaction and perform the service or provide the requested goods.

2. 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.

We collect and retain personal information for the following purposes:

  1. To process your requests for services, products, or further information;
  2. To communicate with you regarding services or products that you have requested - for example to send you a statement or a receipt;
  3. To identify you if you have a question or concern about the service or product that you have requested;
  4. To enhance website services and any business function processing; and
  5. To meet legal and regulatory requirements

We collect no 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 may impair your ability to browse and read or download certain information provided on the site.

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 federal or state law.

The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), 15 U.S.C. 6501, governs information gathering online from or about children under the age of 13. The Health Department is especially concerned about protecting children's privacy. The Health Department does not require children to reveal any information that could personally identify them. If a child chooses to provide personally identifying information to us then the child must get his/her parents' permission before providing any information online -- at our site or any other site.

3. 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 information collected at this site becomes a public record that may be subject to inspection and copying by the public, unless an exemption in law exists. RCW 42.56.070 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 the Public Records Act or other statute which exempts or prohibits disclosure of specific information or records.

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.

4. Nondisclosure of certain personal information

The Health Department is the sole owner of the information collected on its site. We do not use or retain personal information that you provide to us for any secondary purposes unless we clearly notify you and ask your permission first. We will not sell, share, rent or otherwise disclose your personal information to any organization or individual outside the Health Department unless we first notify you and ask your permission. The exceptions to this policy of non-disclosure are stated below.

The City may disclose your personal information:

  1. To companies contracted to process your requests;
  2. For law enforcement purposes;
  3. In compliance with the State of Washington Public Records Disclosure Act. Under this act, we are required to release any documents we have, to any person requesting them, within five business days, unless the act specifically exempts the information from disclosure; and
  4. For the purpose of acting in an emergency or in compassionate circumstances to facilitate contact with your next of kin or friend if you become injured or take ill.

5. Cookies

To better serve our users we use "cookies" to customize your browsing experience with the Health Department. Cookies are simple text files stored on your computer by your web browser.

Cookies created on your computer by using this website do not contain personally identifying information and do not compromise your privacy or security. We use the cookie feature to help log the information described in "Information Collected and How it is used" section.

The Health Department uses cookies for technical purposes such as to enable better navigation through the site, or to allow you to customize your preferences for interacting with the site. The Health Department may also make use of persistent cookies to remember you between visits so, for example, you can save your customized preference settings for future visits. Each Health Department site using persistent cookies identifies itself as doing so.

At no time is your private information, whether stored in persistent cookies or elsewhere, shared with third parties who have no right to that information. If you do not wish to have cookies stored on your machine, you can turn them off in your browser.

6. Disclaimer

The Health Department’s website has many links to other websites. These include links to websites operated by other government agencies, non-commercial organizations and, at times, private businesses. When you link to another site, you are no longer on the Health Department’s website and this Privacy Policy will not apply. When you leave our site, we encourage you to read the privacy statement of each website that you visit before you provide any personal information..

Last Updated: September 9, 2010