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Systematic Planning

Systematic planning is a planning process that is based on the scientific method. It is a common sense approach designed to ensure that the level of detail in planning is commensurate with the importance and intended use of the data, as well as the available resources. Systematic planning is important for the successful execution of all hazardous waste site activities, but it is particularly important for dynamic field activities because they rely on rapid decision-making. Without a clear understanding of the information that will be needed to make decisions, a dynamic field activity is not likely to be effective. The Data Quality Objectives (DQO) process is one formalized process of systematic planning. All dynamic field activities must be designed through the use of systematic planning, whether it is with the DQO steps or some other system.

The U.S. EPA Quality System
  • Quality System Documents

  • Guidance for the Data Quality Objectives Process (337K/74pp/PDF)

    Guidance on the DQO process, a systematic planning process for environmental data collection.

  • Data Quality Objectives Process for Hazardous Waste Sites (684K/143pp/PDF)

    Guidance on applying the DQO process to hazardous waste site investigations.
A Guideline for Dynamic Workplans & Field Analytics: The Keys to Cost-Effective Site Characterization and Cleanup

by Al Robbat, Tufts University
  • Report Summary Exit EPA

    Defines systematic planning and other terms instrumental in this hazardous site characterization and cleanup approach.

  • Full Report (654K/31pp/PDF)

    Explains the factors involved in dynamic workplans and the approach of implementing field-based analytical methods into sampling and analysis in order to expedite the investigation process for hazardous sites.
A Rationale for the Assessment of Errors in the Sampling of Soil (498K/65pp/PDF) Exit EPA

This 1990 document provides guidance on the assessment of errors and uncertainties in the investigation of contaminated soils. It explains how to determine the number and type of samples needed to assess the quality of field data. It also explains how information from quality control samples can be used to identify and control sources of error and uncertainties.
U.S. EPA Region 4: "Environmental Investigations Standard Operating Procedures and Quality Assurance Manual (EISOPQAM)" (2.3MB/369pp/PDF)

Provides procedures for investigations and various sampling guides used by EPA Region 4 field investigators. (May 1996, with 1997 revisions)
"Improving the Cost-Effectiveness of Hazardous Waste Site Characterization and Monitoring" (31K/9pp/PDF) Exit EPA

by Deana Crumbling – Discusses the changes in hazardous site characterization and monitoring being initiated by OSWER, specifically an integrated triad strategy involving systematic planning, dynamic workplans, and on-site analysis and decision-making.
Multi-Agency Radiation Survey and Site Investigation Manual (MARSSIM)

MARSSIM provides information on planning, conducting, evaluating, and documenting environmental radiological surveys of surface soil and building surfaces for demonstrating compliance with regulations.
U.S. Department of Energy information on DQOs Exit EPA
U.S. EPA Region 1 Quality Assurance Unit
  • This Region 1 QA web page contains example quality assurance project plans (QAPPs) and information on the use of a number of field-based analytical methods (1.37MB/144pp/PDF)


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