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Guide Water Quality Monitoring: Quality Management Program

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

Table of Contents

QAPP Overview

Systems for assuring the reliability of scientific data 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 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 monitoring projects during 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. 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 2020-2024 draft program QAPP and supporting documents have been submitted to EPA for review. The final approved document(s) will be posted as soon as they are available.

Additional Resources for QAPP Overview

List of Appendices to Surface Water Monitoring & Assessment QAPP

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