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«Document Control Number SRBC - QA001 (Revised 9/2/2010) Paul O. Swartz Executive Director David W. Heicher Manager, Research and Grants (Quality ...»

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Document Control Number SRBC - QA001

(Revised 9/2/2010)

Paul O. Swartz

Executive Director

David W. Heicher

Manager, Research and Grants

(Quality Assurance Coordinator)

Susquehanna River Basin Commission

1721 North Front Street

Harrisburg, PA 17102-2391

Phone (717) 238-0426

Fax (717) 238-2436


Executive Director ____________________________________________Date:______________

Paul O. Swartz Deputy Director, Technical Programs _____________________________Date:______________

James Richenderfer

Quality Assurance Coordinator Date:

David W. Heicher


EPA Regional Quality Assurance Manager EPA Project Officer


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) has developed a mandatory Agency-wide Quality Assurance Program that requires all organizations performing work for USEPA to develop and operate management processes for assuring that data or information collected are of the needed and expected quality for their intended use. It also requires that environmental technology used for pollution control or waste remediation is designed, constructed, and operated according to defined specifications and protocols. These requirements apply to all organizations that conduct environmental data operations in behalf of USEPA through contracts, financial assistance agreements, and interagency agreements.

This document states the Quality Management Plan (QMP) for the Susquehanna River Basin Commission (Commission) and requires that the Quality Management Program have sufficient resources and authority to support the USEPA national program effort.


Goal The goal of the Quality Management Program is to ensure that all environmental data obtained by the Commission will be scientifically valid, defensible, and of known and acceptable precision and accuracy. This goal can be achieved by ensuring that adequate quality assurance (QA) steps and procedures are used throughout the entire monitoring process (from initial study planning through data usage).


It is the policy of the Commission that:

All environmental data generated for the USEPAwill be of known and acceptable • quality. This quality, and the associated level of effort of the required QA activities, will meet the needs of each program's intended use of the data. The data quality information developed for all environmental data will be documented and available.

An acceptable and cost-effective program of QA activities will be developed and • implemented at the onset of each environmental data operation to help ensure that the necessary level of data quality is achieved.

All Commission monitoring activities will ensure that acceptable QA requirements • are included and implemented in all applicable extramural procurements.


–  –  –

The Executive Director has the overall responsibility for implementation of USEPA's QA requirements. The authority and responsibility for directing QA activities within the Commission are delegated to the designated Quality Assurance Coordinator (QAC) and include all areas covered by this QMP. The QAC is not and will not be directly involved in generating, compiling, and evaluating raw environmental data.

Responsibilities of the QAC The QAC is responsible for and will oversee all aspects of the Commission’s QA activities and will keep upper level management and USEPA Region III’s Office of Analytical Services and Quality Assurance (OASQA) informed of QA needs, problems, and overall status.

The QAC will be the official point of contact for all QA matters and will coordinate with USEPA regarding QA matters. The QAC will be responsible for identifying and responding to QA needs, problems, and requests. The QAC will provide technical QA assistance or obtain technical assistance from OASQA when necessary. This assistance will include help in preparing detailed Quality Assurance Project Plans (QAPPs), contract or other extramural procurement packages requiring QA, designing QA programs for new studies, and other activities, as needed. The QAC will review and approve all QAPPs and QA-related sections of all procurement packages. The QAC will be responsible for maintaining documentation for all QAPPs and communications with USEPA. Finally, the QAC will work with the project managers and other Commission staff to take appropriate corrective action when, where, and however needed. This includes providing additional resources needed to correct a deficiency as determined by the QAC.

Responsibilities of Project Managers and Technical Staff Project managers will coordinate with the QAC on QA requirements to satisfy the data quality needs of the project. The project manager is responsible for ensuring that field personnel are adequately briefed on the QAPP and making periodic checks for compliance with the QA requirements. Technical staff will coordinate and review QA requirements with the appropriate project managers to ensure that all environmental data obtained meet the needs of the study.

Communication/Reporting Lines of communication and reporting of QA program status/needs will be maintained to ensure that an effective QA program is implemented within the Commission. The QAC will have direct access to the Executive Director, Deputy Director of Technical Programs, Director of Administration and Finance, program managers, project managers, and the laboratory directors on specific QA matters as problems arise. It is important that the QAC keep the Executive Director, Deputy Director of Technical Programs, Director of Administration and Finance, and program managers informed of the performance of the data production systems and of any problems and needs. It is also important for the responsible management to adequately respond to identified program problems and needs (including needs for resources as determined by the QAC) and to ensure their resolution. All personnel that are involved in environmental data collection and operations will review this QMP in order to be aware of the Commission’s policy and requirements. The QAC will submit a QA status report to the Executive Director by May 1 of each year and forward a copy of the report to the OASQA as an attachment to the next year's Section 106 grant application.

SRBC Program Managers meet weekly and discuss QA issues on an as-needed basis.

SRBC staff is encouraged to make suggestions for quality improvement on an ongoing basis, and suggestions are solicited during SRBC's annual field orientation exercise as well as during annual project QA audits by the QA Coordinator.

Applicability The provisions of this QMP are applicable to the following Commission programs, as

they are partially funded by USEPA:

1. Subbasin Surveys, Year-1 and Year-2;

2. Water Quality Monitoring of Interstate Streams;

3. Chesapeake Bay Nutrient and Suspended Sediment Monitoring; and

4. Large River Assessment Project.

Other Commission programs may be deemed applicable as determined by the Executive Director, QAC, Deputy Director of Technical Programs, and appropriate SRBC Managers.

These programs may include, but are not limited to: monitoring for Total Maximum Daily Load development, public water supply monitoring, aquatic resource surveys, and low flow monitoring plan.

–  –  –

Quality Management Plan The Commission’s QMP provides the policy and requirements for establishing a QA program to ensure that all environmental data collection and data usage conform to the goal and policy set forth in the Management and Organization Section. This plan is to be prepared by the QAC, reviewed by appropriate SRBC management, and then submitted for approval by the Executive Director, Deputy Director of Technical Programs, USEPA Regional Quality Assurance Manager, and USEPA Project Officer. The QMP will be accessible on the Commission’s web site (www.srbc.net).

Quality Assurance Project Plan

Adequate Quality Assurance/Quality Control (QA/QC) must be applied throughout the entire monitoring process to ensure that the data collected are of known and acceptable quality.

The intended use(s) and quality of the data will be defined before data collection begins and will take into account the needs of secondary users as appropriate. It is important that data quality objectives (DQOs) are established at the inception of a project and that essential QA elements are incorporated into the monitoring process, as appropriate.

Those QA elements which will be incorporated into monitoring activities (both in-house and extramurally procured) by all programs are outlined in USEPA's guidance documents "EPA Requirements for Quality Assurance Project Plans," EPA QA/R-5, March 2001, and "Guidance for Quality Assurance Project Plans," EPA QA/G-5, December 2002. The specific requirements and level(s) of effort applicable to these QA elements will be described in the QAPPs, which will be prepared for each monitoring program. The QAPPs will specify the mechanism by which timely corrective action can be taken if data quality becomes degraded. The QAPPs must be reviewed and approved by USEPA prior to initiation of any data collection activity. Assistance in establishing DQOs can be found in USEPA's "Guidance on Systematic Planning Using the Data Quality Objectives Process,” EPA QA/G-4, February 2006. All Commission QAPPs will be accessible on the Commission’s web site (www.srbc.net).

Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) SOPs are effective tools for ensuring that all individuals conduct routine and repetitive procedures in the same way. These procedures include, in part, sampling procedures and calibration of field meters and equipment. These SOPs will be written by the technical personnel who are trained in those procedures and will be reviewed by project managers and the QAC.

The QAC must approve all SOPs before they are implemented. When certain procedures used by other agencies are adopted by the Commission, the agencies' publications describing the procedures will be kept on file for all staff to review. Guidance for preparing SOPs can be found in USEPA's "Guidance for Preparing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)," EPA QA/G-6, April 2007. All SOPs will be accessible on the Commission’s web site (www.srbc.net).

Quality Assurance Program Review and Audit Several activities are necessary to ensure an adequate system of QA program operation, review, audits, and QA plan approval. These are outlined below.

Review of QA Program and Project Plans The QAC will review all existing programs, future program plans, project plans, and extramural procurements to ensure that acceptable QA/QC activities and requirements are included, that proper QA was considered at the project's inception, and that the project will be able to produce data of required quality in a reliable and cost-effective manner.

External Reviews/Audits of Performance Effective management of the QA activities requires periodic program assessment on which corrective actions can be based. Therefore, the Commission will allow its internal and extramural monitoring programs to be subjected to external reviews or audits of performance.

These audits will assess the adequacy of, and adherence to, the respective QA plans.

All personnel who collect data will participate in annual performance audits conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey. The results of these audits will be reported to the QAC. Any individual failing an audit will be required to repeat the test. Failure of the retest will result in retraining, usually through on-the-job training with personnel that are proficient in their work.

The need for additional formal training will be determined by the Program Manager, project manager, and/or the QAC and will be required as the opportunity arises.

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