Guide Environmental Monitoring: Quality Management Program

MassDEP uses quality management plans to make sure that our monitoring data meets program needs.

QAPP Overview

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.

In addition, copies of the QAPP CD have been submitted to the State Library at the State House in Boston.

This information can be made available in alternate formats upon request by contacting MassDEP's ADA Coordinator at 617-292-5751.

Additional Resources

List of Appendices to Surface Water Monitoring & Assessment QAPP

NOTE: You will need an unzip utility to view these files.

Appendix A
CN 266.0 Benthic Macroinvertebrate Program QAPP

Appendix B
CN 096.0 Fish Toxics Program QAPP

Appendix C
CN 388.0 MassDEP Generic TMDL Modeling QAPP

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

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

Appendix F
Contract Labs Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)

Appendix G
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.

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