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Informal File Review

Information on obtaining documentation from DEP

  • DEP makes a wealth of information available through its website. The DEP website includes information about program areas, applicable laws and regulations, as well as, DEP policies and reports. Through the website's eFACTS system, a variety of information about regulated facilities is available. If the information required is not available on the DEP website, you can request public information by scheduling an informal file review or requesting specific documentation under the Pennsylvania Right to Know Law (RTKL). DEP recommends doing an informal review first; it is the easiest and quickest way for the public to access DEP records.

Informal File Review Scheduling Procedure

  • When: Informal file reviews are scheduled between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Appointments are generally scheduled in half-day and full-day sessions, hours can vary depending on office location.
  • How: To schedule an informal file review, download, print and complete this form (PDF). Note: The built-in PDF viewer in some browsers such as Firefox and Google Chrome does not support the full functionality of this form. Please download the free Adobe Reader PDF viewer if you are using one of these browsers. Submit the completed form by email, fax, or mail to the applicable Regional Office location, Attention: Records Management. DEP does not accept credit cards and all cash payments must be exact. After requesting an appointment you will receive confirmation and given the next available appointment date. All appointments are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Note: To be courteous and fair to other members of the public who are also attempting to schedule informal file reviews, the Department asks that Requesters who are unable to keep a scheduled appointment notify the Regional Office location directly via phone or email at least 48 hours prior to the scheduled appointment. DEP receives multiple requests to review records on a daily basis. In the event a Requester fails to arrive on-time, or is a no-show on a recurring basis (minimum of three occurrences) it is in the sole discretion of the Department to suspend a Requestor's privilege to informally access records for a specified amount of time.

Records Available for Review

  • Records available under an informal file review include notifications, inspection reports, notices of violations, enforcement orders, applications, permit review letters, sample results, remediation plans, approvals, denials, pollution prevention plans and external correspondence. Internal email correspondence and records considered privileged (attorney-client, attorney work product or other privilege) or records otherwise considered confidential are not available under an informal file review.

FAQ: What to Expect at your DEP Records Review Session

  • Outside of equipment that is useful in the duplication of records (Laptops, Tablets, Fax Machines, Scanners, Copiers, Staplers, etc.) DEP asks that Requesters bring only belongings that they can carry on their person.
  • DEP asks that you refrain from bringing large bags, cameras, using video and audio equipment/capabilities of smart phones, boxes, or food and drink. DEP staff reserves the right to terminate the records review session at any time if a Requester is in violation of our requests.
  • If you wish to bring your own scanner/copier, electrical outlets are available.
  • A copier is made available for you to make any applicable copies. Instructions will be given on the copy equipment. These copies cost 15 cents a page. 20 pages or less are free. If you request more than 20 pages, you will be charged for ALL copies.
  • Some records may be available only on microfiche, aperture cards, CDs, or maps. There are no free copies.
  • Payment must be made by check, cash or money order payable to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Copies will not be released without payment. DEP does not accept credit cards.
  • DEP does not research or generate reports.
  • DEP cannot guarantee that a technical person will be available to answer any of your questions, but will try to assist you.

RTKL Request Information

Copying and Mailing Charges

  • Copies of records are available by using a DEP copier, a personal copier or a commercial copying service. DEP can make copies and mail them as part of a RTKL request. The timeframe depends on the number of copies and staff constraints. Payment of any fees due, including postage must be made prior to receipt of copies. Payment must be made by check, cash or money order payable to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
  • Prices to Duplicate Public Records