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EPA's Study of Hydraulic Fracturing and Its Potential Impact on Drinking Water Resources

Quality Assurance & Integrity

EPA’s study conforms with the Agency’s Scientific Integrity Policy and EPA’s Quality Assurance Program for environmental data.

Quality Management Plan for the Hydraulic Fracturing Study

A Quality Management Plan (QMP) documents how an organization will plan, implement, and assess the effectiveness of its quality assurance and quality control operations. Specifically, it describes how an organization structures its quality system, the quality policies and procedures, areas of application, and roles, responsibilities, and authorities. The elements of a quality system are documented in a Quality Management Plan. Both EPA organizations and organizations performing data collection activities funded by EPA are required to document their quality systems. The Quality Management Plan may be viewed as the "umbrella" document under which individual projects are conducted. Project-specific details of individual projects of the organization or program are documented in a Quality Assurance Project Plan (see QAPPs).

Given the importance and organizational complexity of the Hydraulic Fracturing Study (i.e., a number of EPA and non-EPA organizations are participating), EPA developed a QMP specifically for the Hydraulic Fracturing Study. While the Hydraulic Fracturing Study QMP was being prepared and approved, for any ongoing project, the lab or center with the lead for conducting that project applied their existing QMP, and the project progressed under an approved QAPP.

Quality Assurance Project Plans for the Hydraulic Fracturing Study

A quality assurance project plan (QAPP) describes procedures that ensure that only valid data are generated and used in our study. QAPPs are internal scientifically deliberative documents that describe the methods and quality assurance protocols used in our study. They are internal planning documents prepared, reviewed, and approved by agency technical and quality assurance experts. A QAPP may be updated throughout a project to document changes needed to the initial approach based on results obtained or observations made during the study. Current QAPPs for EPA's hydraulic fracturing study are posted below.

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Analysis of Existing Data

Literature Review

Spills Database Analysis

Service Company Analysis

Well File Review

FracFocus Analysis

Scenario Evaluations

Subsurface Migration Modeling

Surface Water Modeling

Water Availability Modeling

Laboratory Studies

Source Apportionment Studies

Wastewater Treatability Studies

Br-DBP Precursor Studies

Analytical Method Development

Case Studies

Las Animas and Huerfano Counties, Colorado – Raton Basin

Dunn County, North Dakota – Bakken Shale

Bradford Counties, Pennsylvania – Marcellus Shale

Washington County, Pennsylvania – Marcellus Shale

Wise County, Texas – Barnett Shale