The following policies apply to MassDEP's Web site and related applications.
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MassDEP is committed to achieving meaningful accessibility to this online environment for all users, including users with disabilities. We follow specific Commonwealth enterprise standards designed to meet the needs of our citizens with disabilities. The Commonwealth enterprise standards are generally based on standards used by the Federal government for technology accessibility for people with disabilities, and web content accessibility guidelines developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). For more information about the Federal standards, please visit the Section 508 web site (http://www.section508.gov) or the Federal Access Board web site (http://www.access-board.gov). For more information about the W3C guidelines, please visit their web site (http://www.w3.org/TR/WAI-WEBCONTENT). The MassDEP web site is regularly tested using leading web accessibility technologies and reviewed by users to verify that this web site is compliant with applicable standards.
About Portable Document Format (PDF)
Some documents on this web site are produced in Portable Document Format (PDF). Efforts are currently underway to ensure that all files are produced using the latest version of Acrobat (file conversion software for PDFs), which is the most accessible technology currently available for these types of files. In order to improve viewing of these files, please download the latest version of Adobe Reader, which is available for free at the Adobe web site (http://www.adobe.com).
However, recognizing that even this version does not always work for all users, efforts are also underway to ensure that PDF files are supplemented with alternative accessible formats and, wherever possible, that these formats include a text or an HTML file.
If any file format prevents you from accessing the information, please contact us for assistance. In order to respond in a manner most helpful to you, please note the nature of your accessibility concern, the format in which you prefer to receive the material, the web page address of the requested material, and the best way to contact you.
In addition, MassDEP also uses third-party sites for communicating via social media. These sites are governed by separate policies. Please see Social Media and Usage Policies for more information.
We also welcome your questions about this accessibility statement and comments on how to improve the site's accessibility. Please contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Welcome to mass.gov/dep (the web pages hosted at mass.gov/dep, together with the web pages hosted at edep.dep.mass.gov, public.dep.state.ma.us and db.state.ma.us/dep/, are referred to within this Policy collectively as the "Web site"), the official Web site of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP). Your privacy is one of our top priorities. The following policy (Policy) applies only to the use of MassDEP's Web site, which includes on-line submittals.
In particular, please note that MassDEP may also communicate with the public via third-party social media, services, such as Twitter and Flickr and, although some of the social media pages used by the MassDEP might appear to be part of this Web site or at a webpage under the MassDEP Web site control, some of these Web sites are actually hosted by third party providers. Thus when accessing these third party social media sites, you are subject to different privacy policies and terms of service. Please review MassDEP Web site's Social Media Usage and Policies to review more detailed information on how the MassDEP Web site uses specific social media sites and for links to the relevant terms of service and privacy policies for those sites.
Privacy Partnership. Your privacy with respect to the use of this Web site results from a partnership between MassDEP and you, the user. At this Web site, MassDEP attempts to protect your privacy to the maximum extent possible. However, because the information that MassDEP receives through this Web site is subject to the Public Records Law, Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 66, Section 10 (including the definition of and exemptions to a public record at Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 4, Section 7(Twenty-sixth)), MassDEP cannot ensure absolute privacy. Information that you provide to us through this Web site, even personally identifiable information may be made available to members of the public under this law. This Policy informs you of the information that MassDEP may collect from you at this Web site, how MassDEP uses it, how secure it is, to whom it may be disseminated, and how you can access it. This Policy also describes our process for making changes to this Policy, provides you with contact information, and defines terms used in this Policy. Based on this information, you can make an informed choice about your use of this Web site and any personally identifiable information you decide to share.
Personally Identifiable Information. MassDEP uses the term "personally identifiable information" to mean any information that could reasonably be used to identify you, including your name, address, telephone number, e-mail address, Social Security number, birth date, bank account information, credit card information, or any combination of information that could be used to identify you.
Information Voluntarily Provided by You. This Web site collects voluntary information from you through surveys, e-mails, and any comments posted on social media pages hosted by this Web site (such as blogs or wiki). All such information, including comments and E-mails sent by you to this Web site will contain personally identifiable information.
Information Automatically Collected and Stored by this Site. This Web site may use "Persistent Cookies" to collect and aggregate data regarding the user's activity on the Web site. Such data enables MassDEP to evaluate and improve its web-based services. You may elect to disable persistent cookies. Please be advised that disabling persistent cookies may affect your ability to view or interact with some Web sites, including this Web site. The Web site may also use temporary "session cookies" to allow visitors to interact with the Web site and to use online applications. "Session cookies" in and of themselves do not allow us to personally identify a visitor (unless the visitor also authenticates and logs into a portion of the Web site, such as the online permitting application that is available at: https://edep.dep.mass.gov/DEPLogin.aspx) but does allow us to present material consistently throughout the Web site. These cookies are stored only in memory and are deleted when the user's browser is shut down. Certain Web-based applications (hosted at public.dep.state.ma.us and edep.state.ma.us) that are accessible through this Web site may automatically set temporary "session cookies" to facilitate visitors' interactions with the web-based applications.
When you visit this Web site, it stores your Internet Protocol ("IP") address (which does not identify you as an individual) for an indefinite period of time, as well as information about the date and time of your visit, whether a file you have requested exists, and how many "bytes" of information were transmitted to you over the Internet from this Web site. MassDEP uses your IP address to assess the frequency of visits to this Web site and the popularity of its various pages and functions. MassDEP will not attempt to match any personal information or data that you provide to us with your IP address, unless there are reasonable grounds to believe that doing so would provide information that is relevant and material to a criminal investigation.
Dissemination of Your Personally Identifiable Information.
MassDEP does not sell any personally identifiable information collected through this Web site or submitted to MassDEP in conjunction with using functions on the Web site, and there is no direct or online public access to the information. However, once you voluntarily submit personally identifiable information to us related to your use of the Web site, its dissemination is governed by the "Public Records Law" (Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 66, Section 10 (including the definition of and exemptions to a public record at Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 4, Section 7(Twenty-sixth)), the "Fair Information Practices Act" (Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 66A), "Executive Order 504" and other applicable laws and regulations. For this reason, part or all of the information you send us may be provided to a member of the public in response to a public records request. There are pieces of information, such as credit card numbers, TIN, username, or password that are not considered public for the purposes of a public records request. For more information on types of data exempted from disclosure under the Public Records Law, please read the Secretary of the Commonwealth's Public Records Law.
In addition, the information that you voluntarily submit will be disclosed only to Commonwealth employees or officials (including those at MassDEP), or those under contract with the Commonwealth, with a "need to know" for purposes of fulfilling their job responsibilities. The information will be used for such purposes as: answering your questions, responding to any requests for assistance, generating summary statistics about usage, auditing applications and detecting fraud, aiding in the planning, design and development of the MassDEP Web site, and fulfilling MassDEP's and the Commonwealth's legal obligations.
MassDEP will collect and aggregate the information you provide through surveys and through the Web site's collection of non-personally identifying analytics data for purposes of market research to improve this Web site by making it more responsive to customer needs. Where appropriate, MassDEP may provide the information you submitted voluntarily through an e-mail to the person or company that is the subject of your inquiry, or to a government agency responsible for the matters referred to in your communication.
Your Access and Opportunity to Correct Personally Identifiable Information. The "Public Records Law" and the "Fair Information Practices Act" provide you certain rights to get information about you that is in our records. To learn more about the circumstances under which you can get and correct this information, please click on the above references to these laws. Your rights under third party products such as Google Analytics and ForeSee are governed by the policies for those products.
Security. Although information sent via edep is encrypted, other information sent to MassDEP via this Web site may not be encrypted. Therefore, you should not send messages containing information that you consider highly sensitive. In accordance with Executive Order 504 , MassDEP uses standard security measures to ensure that information provided by you, including your personally identifiable information, is not lost, misused, altered, or unintentionally destroyed. MassDEP also uses software to monitor network traffic to identify unauthorized attempts to upload or change information, or otherwise cause damage. This software monitors network traffic (e.g., to identify hacking attempts and other attacks). MassDEP does not associate any information collected through this means with an individual's computer, except to identify specific computers (or IP addresses) that could be responsible for launching an attack or in connection with authorized law enforcement investigations.
Special Protections Against Misuse Of Personally Identifiable Information Within Commonwealth Offices. In 2008, Executive Order 504 was issued, which enhanced the privacy protection given to any information about you as a named individual held by the Executive Branch of state government. Executive Order 504 limits the collection and dissemination of personally identifiable information within the Executive Branch and requires Executive Branch agencies to greatly enhance the security and integrity of such data. This Web site complies with Executive Order 504, so all of the personally identifiable information that you submit to this Web site is given the privacy protections set forth in Executive Order 504.
Contact Information. For questions about your privacy while using this Web site, please contact: email@example.com
Definition of Terms
Internet Protocol Address or IP Address. An IP address is a series of numbers that identifies each computer and machine connected to the Internet. An IP address enables a server on a computer network to send you the file that you have requested on the Internet. The IP address disclosed to us may identify the computer from which you are accessing the Internet, or a server owned by your Internet Service Provider. Because it is machine-specific, rather than person-specific, an IP address is not, in and of itself, personally identifiable information.
Social Media. A social media Web site is a Web site on a social media application that is usually maintained by an individual and has regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. A social media identity is a specific user identity that has been registered on a third party social media Web site. Government social media Web sites or identities are typically associated with a government agency and typically provide forums for commentary or news on topics related to the government agency that hosts the social media Web site or has secured the social media identity. A typical social media Web site (whether hosted by a government agency or a third party) combines text, images, and links to other Web sites including blogs, wikis, and other media related to the topic and enables readers to leave comments in an interactive format.
Weblog or Blog. A weblog or blog is a Web site, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Government blogs typically provide commentary and news on topics related to the government agency hosting the blog. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, Web sites, and other media related to the topic, and enables readers to leave comments in an interactive format.
Wiki. A wiki is a Web site that uses collaboration software to enable the creation of a number of interlinked web pages. Many authors can contribute to the Web site and upload content to the Web site. Government wikis typically provide a venue for commentary and discussion regarding topics related to the government agency hosting the wiki. A typical wiki combines text, images, and links to other Web sites outside the wiki also related to the topic, and enables readers to leave comments in an interactive format.
Social Media Usage and Policies
Staying Informed and Involved Online
To highlight MassDEP's commitment to transparency in government, MassDEP is using additional web-based tools for outreach, education and information. These tools are not intended to replace the channels currently in place for press and constituent communication. Rather, these tools are meant to enhance MassDEP's ability to educate, empower, and inform the residents of Massachusetts.
Press inquiries or press complaints regarding MassDEP services should be directed to Ed Coletta at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-797-2683. Other questions or complaints regarding MassDEP services should be directed to the appropriate contact for the program identified via Contacts on the MassDEP Web Site. If you are not sure which program your question should be directed to, please email it to email@example.com or call 617-292-5500. For information on commenting to MassDEP via social media and its response to comments, please see the Comments and Appropriate Use section of this Social Media Policy.
Social Media Sites, Your Privacy and Related Policies
The Records Retention Law of the Commonwealth requires MassDEP to preserve records created or received by MassDEP. Pursuant to this retention requirement, comments posted or messages received via an official state agency page on a third-party Web site (such as an official agency profile on a micro-blog such as Twitter) will be treated as state governmental records and may be permanently archived. Accordingly, information that you submit through social media sites associated with MassDEP is covered by the Records Retention Law, available at the Secretary of the Commonwealth's Public Records Division's Web site, and may be subject to disclosure if requested under the Public Records Law, Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 66, Section 10 (including the definition of and exemptions to a public record at Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 4, Section 7(Twenty-sixth)).
Information that you submit voluntarily through social media sites associated with MassDEP may become available to the public. This information may include your name, city or town, and the substance of your post, and may be disseminated further by being posted online at the MassDEP's Web Site or be publicly discussed by Executive Branch staff.
To protect your privacy on social media sites, since your public comments may include or link to your personally identifiable information, please do not include personal information in your public comments that you would not want widely distributed, such as social security number, phone numbers or email addresses. In some cases, to facilitate direct communication between MassDEP and you, MassDEP may ask you to provide your name and contact information, although providing either is optional.
MassDEP on Flickr
Flickr is an image and video hosting social networking site. MassDEP posts a wide range of photos to Flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/massdep/collections/.
MassDEP is responsible solely for the content it uploads to its official Flickr site, and not for any videos or photos linked from other users, nor for any comments posted by other users, nor for any advertising or other content contained on the Flickr Web site.
If you would like to use any of MassDEP's photos for a story, blog post, printing, etc., you must credit, "Photo Courtesy of Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection."
For questions about MassDEP's use of Flickr, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
MassDEP on Twitter
Twitter is a social networking site that allows users to send and read other users' brief updates of up to 140 characters in length. While people use Twitter in many different ways for both personal and professional reasons, MassDEP is using Twitter as another way to engage with citizens and to keep them informed about what MassDEP is doing.
You can follow MassDEP's Commissioner and MassDEP on Twitter at http://twitter.com/massdep/. Please note:
- The account is maintained and monitored by MassDEP staff.
- While MassDEP may follow people who follow it, a follow does not constitute a formal endorsement or approval of opinions or ideas expressed by the followed account holder.
- While MassDEP may retweet content, a retweet does not constitute a formal endorsement or approval of opinions or ideas expressed by the retweeted message.
- While MassDEP is interested in engaging with its followers on Twitter, please contact MassDEP by other means for comments or issues that do not fit very well in 140 characters. Twitter is not an appropriate method to provide formal public comments relating to regulations or projects as part of a formal public comment period. Comments posted on Twitter about a proposed MassDEP action (e.g., regulation, policy or project) during the public comment period will not be part of the public record for the MassDEP action. MassDEP continues to accept formal public comment in accordance with its policies (e.g., via email and postal mail for regulatory, permitting and other matters).
- While MassDEP staff tweet directly and the Commissioner and staff review and update Twitter on as regular of a basis as possible, please recognize that MassDEP also monitors and maintains many other channels for feedback, outreach and engagement, both in-person and online.
- Unless you protect your updates, messages you post on Twitter are public. Because not everyone knows that MassDEP is on Twitter, MassDEP occasionally searches for 'tweets' that talk about energy or environmental issues but may not reference MassDEP's account, "@MassDEP", and lets that user know about MassDEP's account. MassDEP periodically performs these searches to enable it to more effectively listen to and engage with constituents.
- While users may choose to comment via Twitter for a variety of purposes, including in order to ask questions, make complaints or provide information on constituent matters, MassDEP may choose not to respond back via social media (or not to respond at all) to such inquiries or comments. MassDEP endeavors to respond to comments and inquiries in the manner most appropriate to the issue(s) raised.
- All press or media inquiries should be directed to MassDEP's Public Affairs Office. MassDEP will not respond via Twitter to press or media inquiries.
- Your use of and comments to MassDEP on Twitter are also subject to the MassDEP Web Site policies, the Social Media Usage and Policies and, without limitation, its Comments and Appropriate Use section.
Comments and Appropriate Use
Public Records; Retention Requirements; and Courteous, On Topic and Otherwise Appropriate Comments
The Records Retention Law, available at the Secretary of the Commonwealth's Public Records Division's Web site, requires MassDEP to preserve records created or received by MassDEP. Pursuant to the retention requirements, comments posted or messages received via an official state agency page on a third-party social media site (such as an official agency profile on a platform such as Twitter, Facebook or Flickr) will be treated as state governmental records and may be permanently archived. Accordingly, information that you submit through social media sites associated with MassDEP is covered by the Records Retention Law, and may become subject to disclosure if requested under the Public Records Law (Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 66, Section 10 (including the definition of and exemptions to a public record at Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 4, Section 7(Twenty-sixth)).
In posting comments on a MassDEP Web Site or social media site, you grant MassDEP and anyone viewing the Web site irrevocable permission to copy, distribute, make derivatives, display or perform the content of your post publicly and free-of-charge. A post includes the following material: (1) the language and imagery of the comment itself, and (2) any proprietary work, copyrighted or otherwise, that you provide in a link from your comment.
Since the comments that you make can become public records, MassDEP asks that your comments and your use of the MassDEP Web Site and social media sites generally be courteous, on topic, and appropriate to the purpose of the site. The purpose of the Web Site or social media site should be considered in your use and in your comments. Posts to the MassDEP Web Site or a social media site should NOT contain any of the following, and it is within MassDEP's discretion to remove posts of this type:
- copyrighted and other proprietary material of any form belonging to an individual other than the user providing comments, unless proper permission for its use is clearly indicated.
- unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries. These sites are not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
- submission of any claim, demand, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or any documents used to bring a claim in any criminal or civil litigation.
- reports of illegal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact your local police agency. To report an environmental violation, please contact the MassDEP Environmental Strike Force.
- posts that contain personally identifiable information regarding a 3rd party.
In addition, MassDEP will remove comments posted to MassDEP's Web Site or social media sites that:
- contain obscene, indecent, or profane language;
- contain harassment, threats or defamatory statements;
- contain hate speech involving race, color, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, ethnicity, age, religion, or disability;
- are obvious spam; or
- promote or endorse services or products. (Note that non-commercial links that are relevant to the topic or another comment are acceptable.)
Furthermore, for the benefit of robust discussion appropriate for social media, it is within MassDEP's discretion to remove comments that:
- address subjects that are off-topic for the particular page or medium on which they were posted. To ensure that your comments on other topics reach the right program for follow-up and response, please contact the appropriate MassDEP program directly or call MassDEP at 617-292-5500.
- contain identical posts by the same user or multiple users (including posts submitted by one person under different aliases). In the case of such identical posts, MassDEP will retain or post the first submission.
Thank you for using MassDEP sites that are part of the official online presence of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP). We hope these sites will make your dealings with your state government easier and more efficient.
- Other Sites Have Other Policies. For your convenience, MassDEP links to external Internet sites that are not provided or maintained by the MassDEP. Please note that MassDEP cannot guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of these external sites. While MassDEP primarily links to other government and non-profit sites, the inclusion of links is not intended to endorse any views expressed, or products or services offered, on these sites, or the organizations sponsoring the sites. In particular, please note that MassDEP uses various social media tools. Although some of the social media sites or identities might appear to be part of the MassDEP site, many are hosted by third party providers. Please review our Social Media Usage and Policies for more information on the terms that apply for each of these sites.
- Public Record and Copyright. All of the material posted on MassDEP's Web site and accessible to the public without use of an authenticating and authorizing mechanism (such as a "PIN" or password) is public record. Most of the public record posted on MassDEP and any of the Commonwealth Web sites can be copied and used for any purpose. For example, all judicial opinions and all laws and regulations are public record. However, some of the public record posted on the Commonwealth's Web sites is also copyrighted material (for example, regulations based on technical codes developed and copyrighted by private organizations).
"with respect to material copyrighted by the Commonwealth, including the design, layout, and other features of Mass.Gov, the Commonwealth forbids any copying or use other than "fair use" under the Copyright Act. "Fair use" includes activities such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, research, and other related activities. In addition, please be advised that Mass.Gov makes use of materials (including, but not limited to, photographs) in which third parties hold the copyright, which also cannot be copied or used for use other than "fair use" without permission of the copyright owner. If you want to make use other than "fair use" of any copyrighted information on this Web site, you must seek permission directly from the copyright owner."
The part of our sites to which the copyright rules stated above do not apply is on social media pages that receive comment. Content on these pages is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Content includes all materials posted by MassDEP. In addition, visitors to these pages agree to grant a non-exclusive, irrevocable, royalty-free license to the rest of the world for their submissions to this site under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. A copy of this license is available online at http://creativecommons.org/licenses.
MassDEP respects the intellectual property of others, and we ask users of our sites to do the same. In accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and other applicable law, we reserve the right to terminate, in appropriate circumstances and at our sole discretion, users, subscribers, or account holders on our sites who are deemed to be repeat infringers. We may also, at our sole discretion, limit access to our sites and/or terminate the accounts of any users who infringe any intellectual property rights of others, whether or not there is any repeat infringement.
Notice and Procedure for Notifying Designated Agent of Claims of Copyright Infringement
If you believe that any material on MassDEP's sites infringes upon any copyright which you own or control, or that any link on these sites directs users to another site that contains material that infringes upon any copyright which you own or control, you may file a notification of such infringement with our Designated Agent as set forth below. Notifications of claimed copyright infringement must be sent to MassDEP's Designated Agent for notice of claims of copyright infringement. Our Designated Agent may be reached by emailing Kellie.Ingram@mass.gov.
No warranty, endorsement or liability. MassDEP makes no warranty that the materials contained on the sites are free from copyright claims, or other restrictions or limitations on free use or display. MassDEP disclaims any liability for the improper or incorrect use of information obtained from these sites.
With respect to MassDEP, any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other nongovernmental organizations or individuals that remain on the sites are provided solely for the information of individuals using the sites and are not intended to reflect the opinion of the Administration, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or its officers and employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given to any referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying official endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.
MassDEP does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on the sites is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. MassDEP may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on any of MassDEP's sites by any other person. The views expressed on these sites by non-state commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the MassDEP.
No waiver; Laws, Regulations and Policies Take Precedence. The content published on these sites is subordinate to, and is not to be interpreted as an amendment to or waiver of the Federal and State laws, regulations and policies applicable to the matters addressed in the sites' content.