The use of cooperative monitoring programs, involving the co-mingling of data of the regulated community and the “regulators,” can lead to effective utilization of resources and contribute to cooperative solutions to our pollution control programs. Such benefits can only be realized, however, under controls which ensure the comparability and validity of data obtained through well-defined roles and work plans. A key to this control is the Work/Quality Assurance (QA) Project Plan developed cooperatively by the type of team reflected in the authorship of this paper, namely by federal, industry, and state/municipal representatives.
A comprehensive Work/Quality Assurance Project/Work Plan Guidance document has been developed in the Office of Water, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which should effectively meet QA requirements for a wide range of users and types of water-monitoring tasks. This guidance document is designed to cover all aspects of water environmental measurement from field sampling through laboratory analysis and data reduction and, where applicable, computer input.
The document integrates a work plan with a QA plan eliminating the dual effort of overlapping plan developments and assuring practical incorporation of quality assurance/quality control. In addition, the combination of the work plan and QA plan provides a comprehensive basis to establish sound coordination and agreement for cooperative monitoring tasks. This guidance document is currently in pilot implementation throughout the United States.