Quality Assurance Quality Control

This page contains information and resources about Quality Assurance/Quality Control under the Watershed Protection Program – including quality assurance project plans and other water quality assessment resources.

About QA/QC

Each year, federal, state, private and public groups or agencies, industry, academic researchers and interested citizen organizations spend increasing amounts of time and money on water quality monitoring, data analyses and interpretation.

In order for the information gathered to be useful to other interested parties and to be used for an accurate, cost-effective and efficient assessment of water quality, all monitoring data must come from comparable project design, methods (including QA/QC), analyses and interpretation.

Establishing Consistency

Collaboration among water quality monitoring programs and organizations is possible if there is a technical and administrative framework to promote data comparability and to assure data of known quality. In addition, environmental issues and related data operations are becoming increasingly complex.

Existing and anticipated environmental decision-making objectives drive the need to establish a systematic process and structure. Establishing these characteristics will ensure the data quality and consistency that decision-makers must have if they are to have confidence in the data that supports their decisions. 

Environmental Data

Environmental data include any measurements or information that help describe the following:

  • Environmental processes, location or conditions
  • Ecological or health effects and consequences
  • The performance of environmental technology and/or
  • Information collected directly from measurements 

Environmental data quality assurance and quality control are achieved by adhering to the methods, procedures and techniques in this manual.

Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP)

The most recent QAPP was published in April 2016 and can be found in the Resources section of this page.

The monitoring program addresses waters involved in, but not limited to:

  • 303(d) list
  • Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) plans 
  • Citizen complaints
  • Volunteer monitoring
  • Clean Water Act Section 319(h) and 205(j)(5) grants
  • Best Management Practice (BMP) implementation effectiveness