Systems for assuring the reliability of scientific data and related information are essential for any environmental monitoring program. MassDEP is committed to ensuring that the monitoring data used to support the various water quality management activities specified in the Clean Water Act are of known and documented quality. This is achieved through the implementation of an EPA-approved Quality Management Plan for Federally Funded Programs. MassDEP’s Quality Management Plan describes each element of its quality system, including the policies and procedures used by MassDEP to make certain that all data and information collected are sufficient for their intended purposes of assessing, protecting and improving the environment.

Within the Division of Watershed Management-Watershed Planning Program (WPP), surface water quality monitoring is conducted under an EPA-approved, five-year programmatic Quality Assurance Program Plan (QAPP). The QAPP documents the elements of WPP’s monitoring program, including goals and objectives, sampling designs, data quality objectives,  sampling logistics, equipment used, training provided, quality control sampling, documentation, data validation and management, corrective actions, and data reporting.  In addition to this overarching QAPP, individual Sampling and Analysis Plans (SAPs) are prepared annually for each monitoring project within the five-year approval period. Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) documents are also maintained for all field and laboratory operations and are revised as needed to reflect any changes in methodologies. All field and laboratory personnel receive training in the execution of the SOPs on an as-needed basis.  SOPs currently in use include, but are not limited to, benthic macroinvertebrate monitoring, collection of fish tissue for contaminant analysis, water quality sampling (e.g., bacteria, nutrients, algal toxins, metals, etc.), benthic algae collection, assessment of fish communities and monitoring for aquatic plants.

WPP’s 2015-2019 program QAPP and supporting documentation were submitted to EPA in 2015 for review and approval.


Quality Assurance Program Plan for Surface Water Monitoring & Assessment, 2015-2019


Appendix A  zip format of Appendix A

CN 266.0 Benthic Macroinvertebrate Program QAPP

Appendix B  zip format of Appendix B
file size 2MB

CN 096.0 Fish Toxics Program QAPP

Appendix C  zip format of Appendix C
file size 2MB

CN 388.0 MassDEP Generic TMDL Modeling QAPP

Appendix D  zip format of Appendix A
file size 48MB

Wall Experiment Station (WES) Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)

Appendix E  zip format of Appendix E
file size 73MB

Watershed Planning Program (WPP) Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)

Appendix F  zip format of Appendix F
file size 20MB

Contract Labs Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)

Appendix G  zip format of Appendix G
file size 5MB

2015 Sampling & Analysis Plans (SAP)

Appendix H - See the main QAPP for Appendix H (Massachusetts Probabilistic Monitoring and Assessment Program (MAP2) for Wadeable Rivers and Streams Survey Design, 2011-2015)

Appendix I - See the main QAPP (Appendix I) for examples of completed fieldsheets, lab reports, QC forms, survey checklists and training records.