Quality Assurance Project Plan Guidance
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines a quality assurance project plan (QAPP) as “a formal document describing in comprehensive detail the necessary quality assurance (QA), quality control (QC), and other technical activities that must be implemented to ensure that the results of the work performed will satisfy the stated performance criteria”. The elements of a QAPP are arranged into four groups:
- Project Management
- Data Generation and Acquisition
- Assessment and Oversight
- Data Validation and Usability
In SWAMP, a QAPP is required for certain large, ongoing, or special projects conducted by the Regional Water Quality Control Boards (Regional Boards) or program contractors. Prior to sample collection or field measurements, the SWAMP Quality Assurance Team (QAT) evaluates each SWAMP-funded QAPP against a program-specific checklist and related EPA guidance. The products of this review include the completed checklist, a related narrative, and a two-hour consultation.
To streamline the QAPP generation process, SWAMP encourages the use of the following resources:
- The SWAMP Advisor is an interactive online tool that compiles user input into a SWAMP-comparable QAPP. At the same time, the user learns the rationale for the requested input and gains direct access to supporting information and resources.
- The SWAMP QAPP Template is a formatted Microsoft Word document that includes guidelines and boilerplate language for each element of a SWAMP-comparable QAPP.
- The SWAMP QAPP Review Checklist is a tool for assessing each element of a completed SWAMP-comparable QAPP. The checklist is equally useful during document creation.
- EPA Quality System documents Guidance for Quality Assurance Project Plans and EPA Requirements for Quality Assurance Project Plans are the basis for the above QAPP tools.