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What is a Public Record?

A public record is any writing containing information relating to the conduct of government or the performance of any governmental or proprietary function prepared, owned, used, or retained by any state or local agency regardless of physical form or characteristics." (RCW 42.56.010(2)). A writing is broadly defined and includes: "handwriting, typewriting, printing, photostating, photographing, and every other means of recording any form of communication ore representation, including, but not limited to, letters, words, pictures, sounds or symbols, or combination thereof, and all papers, maps, magnetic or paper tapes, photographic films and prints, motion picture, film and video recordings, magnetic or punched cards, discs, drums, diskettes, sound recordings, and other documents including existing data compilations from which information may be obtained or translated." (RCW 42.56.010(3)). You may request public documents maintained by Public Health — Seattle & King County by specifying the type of document you are seeking.

For instance, if you would like a copy of a swimming pool inspection, you will need to specify the address of the swimming pool, as well as the time frame for which you are seeking the document(s): "I would like inspection reports for the last three years for the swimming pool located in the ABC Apartments at 12345 Random Street in Seattle, 98101."

Please note that many documents are not electronic, so we must have a mailing address in order to process the request. Once your request is received, you will be advised of applicable costs and the anticipated time that it will take to produce any documents that may exist responsive to your request.

If you are seeking septic/as-built records only, please see this page for more information:

If you are seeking patient medical records, please fill out and submit a valid release form, and follow the instructions on the form. You may also download a copy of Public Health's release form.

Cost of public records

Public Health — Seattle & King County charges $0.15 per page for copying, and $0.14 for scanning, plus the cost of postage where applicable. Fees are charged in accordance with RCW 42.56.130.

There is no charge for inspecting public records, but an appointment must be made. Office hours are Monday – Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (except on official holidays or otherwise noted.) To make an appointment, please call 206-477-3666.

Mail your public records request to:

Public Disclosure Officer
Business Standards and Accountability Section
Public Health — Seattle & King County
401 5th Ave, Suite 250
Seattle, WA 98104 or by email:

If you have questions regarding your request, call the Public Disclosure Officer at 206-477-3666. You may also download a fillable PDF form

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