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Pacific Southwest, Region 9

Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations

Quality Assurance Planning

The ultimate success of an environmental program or project depends on the quality of the environmental data collected and used in decision-making, and this may depend significantly on the adequacy of the quality assurance project plan and how it is carried out. EPA Region 9 requires that a systematic process be used, wherever possible and appropriate to plan all environmental data generation activities. To facilitate the development of objectives, EPA has developed guidances to help state and tribal governments develop Quality Assurance Program Plans (QAPPs) in documenting the type and quality of data needed for environmental decisions and in describing the methods for collecting and assessing those data.

Quality Assurance Project Planning

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The purpose of the QA Project Plan is to document planning results for environmental data collection and to provide a project-specific blueprint for obtaining the type and quality of environmental data needed for a specific decision or use. The QA Project Plan documents how quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC) are applied to an environmental data operation to assure that the results obtained are of the type and quality needed and expected.

EPA Requirements for Quality Assurance Project Plans (PDF) (40 pp, 121K)
This document provides the QA Project Plan requirements for organizations that conduct environmental data operations on behalf of EPA through contracts, financial assistance agreements, and interagency agreements.

Agency-wide Guidance for Quality Assurance Project Plans (PDF) (111 pp, 401K)
EPA guidance for the development of Quality Asurance Project Plans.

Uniform Federal Policy for Quality Assurance Project Plans
Government-wide guidance for the development of Quality Assurance Project Plans.

Agency-Wide Quality System Documents
General guidance from the Quality Staff to assist in the development and implementation of a suitable Quality System for both EPA and non-EPA organizations.

Examples

The Volunteer Monitor’s Guide to Quality Assurance Project Plans (PDF)  (67 pp, 1.5M) 
Quality assurance project plan guidance for voluntary sampling programs which are not EPA funded.  

Example Quality Assurance Project Plan for Water Sampling (PDF) (89 pp, 880 K)
An example of a fully prepared quality assurance project plan for a fictitious stream sampling location.

Sampling and Analysis Plan Guidance and Templates

These document can be downloaded and used to write a sampling and analysis plan.

Quality Assurance Project Plan Guidance for Wetlands (Template) (PDF) (55 pp, 324K)
Quality Assurance Project Plan Guidance for Wetlands (Template) (Word version) (55 pp, 233K)
Guidance to assist Region 9 Wetland Grant recipients in documenting the procedural and data requirements for projects involving environmental measurements.

Version 2.0 of the Region 9 Wetlands QAPP Guidance provides additional clarifying language in a number of sections and incorporates references to newer wetlands assessment methods, such as the California Rapid Assessment Method, and to the new federal rule for "Compensatory Mitigation for Losses of Aquatic Resources." The basic format of the guidance remains unchanged from the original version (1.0, September 2004).

Quality Assurance Project Plan Guidance for Brownfields Assessment Projects (Template) (Word DOC, 101 pp, 607K)
Version 3 of this template is intended to assist organizations in documenting the procedural and analytical requirements for Brownfields Assessment projects involving the collection of water, soil, sediment, or other samples taken to characterize areas of potential environmental contamination.

Quality Assessment Checklist (Word DOC, 9 pp, 170K)
Guidelines for performing data quality assessments on environmental data.

Quality Assurance Management Planning

A Quality Management Plan documents how an organization structures its quality system and describes its quality policies and procedures, criteria for and areas of application, and roles, responsibilities, and authorities. It also describes an organization's policies and procedures for implementing and assessing the effectiveness of the quality system. These documents describe the elements of a quality system that are documented in a Quality Management Plan.

For more information about EPA quality assurance requirements:

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