Frequent Questions - Quality Assurance (QA) Project Plans
- What is a QA Project Plan?
- Why do I have to write a QA Project Plan?
- How do I develop a QA Project Plan?
- Where are content specifications for QA Project Plans
- I have a Quality Management Plan, do I still need a
QA Project Plan?
- Who is responsible for implementing the QA Project
- Whom do I contact if I have questions?
- Where can I find more information on QA Project Plans?
What is a QA Project Plan? A QA Project Plan is a written document that describes the quality assurance procedures, quality control specifications, and other technical activities that must be implemented to ensure that the results of the project or task to be performed will meet project specifications. Primary data collection, secondary data usage, and data processing (such as modeling) project activities funded by EPA are described and documented in QA Project Plans.
Why do I have to write a QA Project Plan? EPA requires approved QA Project Plans (or equivalent documents) for all applicable projects and tasks involving environmental data to ensure the project and task is documented and reviewed before the work is started. The need to write a QA Project Plan applies is defined in CIO 2105.0 (PDF 12pp, 94K About PDF) when EPA conducts a project directly, or in the applicable Federal Regulations (see Quality Specifications for Non-EPA Organizations) when EPA is funding the project under a grant, contract, or other agreement.
How do I develop a QA Project Plan? Development of a QA Project Plan should be a multi-step process involving a number of people. The following is a brief summary of the process:
- Assemble a project team and "systematically plan" what needs to be
- Write the QA Project Plan using the results of that planning process.
- Submit the QA Project Plan for review and approval.
- Once approved, distribute the QA Project Plan to all pertinent individuals
involved with the project or program.
- Begin work, but remember to:
- document any changes in QA Project Plan; and if necessary, get re-approval and distribute the update version to all persons, and
- review the QA Project Plan on a systematic basis to ensure that it remains up-to-date.
Where are content specifications for QA Project Plans defined? Specifications for those receiving EPA funds for environmental activities are defined in EPA Requirements for QA Project Plans. For EPA personnel, content specifications are defined in Chapter 5 of the EPA Manual CIO 2105-P-01-0 (PDF 62pp, 169K About PDF). Because the 'Requirements' document is clearer, more user-friendly, and less repetitive, EPA recommends that EPA personnel use this document in lieu of the Manual.
I have a Quality Management Plan, do I still need a QA Project Plan? Yes. A Quality Management Plan describes the organization's quality system, that is, its management structure for quality, while the QA Project Plan describes the necessary quality assurance, quality control, and other technical activities that must be implemented for a specific project. For small programs, grants, and contracts, these two documents may be combined into a single document, with permission of the EPA QA Manager of the organization sponsoring the work. The combined document will need to address all the elements defined by the EPA QA Manager and include documentation of both the organization's quality system and the application of this system to the work to be performed.
Who is responsible for implementing the QA Project Plan? The organization performing the work is responsible for ensuring that the QA Project Plan is approved prior to the commencement of any work and that it is implemented as written. All project personnel should understand the specifications prior to the start of data generation activities and ensure that the plan is implemented as written and that all changes are documented and approved prior to their being made.
Whom do I contact if I have questions? For recipients of EPA funds, the QA Manager of the funding EPA office should be contacted. For internal EPA projects, the QA Manager of that organization should be contacted. A list of all EPA QA Managers is available at Quality System Contacts.
Where can I find more information on QA Project Plans? For more information on QA Project Plans, see Quality Management Tools - QA Project Plans.