Support for Environmental Assessment Grants for Tribes in EPA's Region 9
All EPA-funded projects in which environmental measurements are taken must have a written Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP).
The QAPP is a planning document that details how the project will meet EPA requirements and project-specific data or program-specific data to generate usable environmental information. QA publications that provide guidance for developing QAPPs can be downloaded from the EPA web site.
Quality Assurance Requirements
Federal regulations and EPA policy requires that the collection of environmental data through extramural agreements, such as General Assistance Program (GAP) grants, be supported by a QAPP.
Any organization performing work for EPA under these programs must be able to show that the data it collects are of the quality required for any decision it makes regarding the protection of public health and the environment.
The Region 9 QA Branch must review and approve all QAPPs before the organization may collect any environmental measurements.
Planning for Data Collection
Before conducting environmental sampling, the scope of the planned effort needs to be defined. The following questions should be considered as a QAPP is being developed:
- What environmental issue is the data collection intended to address?
- What decision is to be made as a result of the project?
- What quantity and quality of data are needed to be able to make the decision?
- What environmental matrix is to be tested? This might include surface water, ground water, soil, sediment, sludge, air, solid/hazardous wastes, vegetation, fish or fauna
- What type of measurements are planned? Chemical analyses (for example, volatile organic compounds, water quality parameters, metals, pesticides), physical analyses (turbidity, flow, etc.), bioassays (toxicity tests), or plant or animal surveys might be included.
- What is the planned sampling and analysis schedule?
In order to benefit fully from all of the available EPA resources, the tribe's environmental services staff or its consultant should contact the QA Branch as soon as the scope of the project has been defined. The QA Branch can provide and connect the tribe with the appropriate QA Branch or Region 9 Laboratory resource.
Published guidance documents, helpful in the preparation of QAPPs, are listed at the end of this fact sheet.
Once a draft of the QAPP is completed by the Tribe, it is submitted to the EPA Project Officer. The Project Officer will forward the plan to the QA Program for review. The review normally takes about 35 days from receipt.
Review comments are sent directly to the Tribe. In responding to the comments, the tribal staff should work directly with the QA Branch. A revised plan must be resubmitted to EPA and approved by the QA Branch before environmental measurements may be taken.