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​​​​​"Quality assurance" refers to a system of activities that ensure an organization's processes achieve goals and objectives. It involves setting policy, procedures and control measures that address an organization's operations.

Agreements with agencies that provide funding for Division of Water (DOW) programs (like the Environmental Protection Agency [EPA]) require specific documentation on quality systems. DOW also requires certain quality requirements for contractors that perform work for the Division. These requirements are specified in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), under the following titles:

                 48 CFR 46                40 CFR 31                   40 CFR 35

Within the CFR regulations are statements on developing and maintaining quality documents -- the quality management plan (QMP) and quality assurance project plans (QAPP). Agencies receiving funding are required to prepare these documents based on program objectives and operational activities. The Department for Environmental Protection has a Quality Management Plan [4 MB] that guides all quality assurance within the department.

As with all programs within the Department for Environmental Protection, DOW participates in a quality management system. A team of department scientists sets quality policies and guidelines for departmental activities and operations which are then followed at the agency level.
 All environmental data collection projects must develop a QAPP. These plans cover specifics of the project; who will do each part of the project, the timeline for the project, how each task will be done, and the documentation and reporting requirements. QAPPs are also developed for modelling and other Division planning and assessment methods. 

QAPPs must be submitted whenever DOW funds a project or issues a certification. Watershed plans developed with 319(h) funds require a QAPP be submitted and approved before monitoring can occur. The laboratory certification program also requires that documentation and data analysis reports be submitted as requirements of the certificate. 

All program activities must also designate specific SOPs, for either administrative responsibilities or for environmental monitoring planning.  All individual tasks within a project or program must develop or follow existing SOPs that have been reviewed and approved by DOW and DEP quality assurance staff. An SOP describes a specific method or procedure. SOP manuals are important tools for meeting quality assurance practices. Many SOPs used by DOW are developed for internal program use; however, partner agencies or outside organizations may also utilize these SOPs for work done for DOW. The use of these SOPs by outside organizations and agencies should be coordinated with a DOW scientist to ensure that the correct application of these protocols is utilized.

 A list of SOPs related to water monitoring and assessment can be found below.

Current SOPs
CategoryDownloadLast Revision DateFile Size
AlgaeField Assessments of Benthic Algae Condition in Wadeable Waters3/1/200977140
AlgaeCollection Methods for Benthic Algae in Wadeable Waters3/1/200988986
AlgaeDiatom Taxonomic ID and Enumeration3/1/2009260077
AlgaeLab Procedures for Chlorophyll3/1/20202495542
AlgaePreparing and Processing Algae Samples for Taxonomic Analysis of Diatoms3/1/200991986
BacteriaEnzyme Substrate Test for TC and EColi1/1/20193306547
FishCollection Methods for Fish in Wadeable Streams2/4/2022865046
FishCollection of Fish in Large Wadeable and Non-Wadeable Streams9/1/2016354169
FishLab Procedures for Fish Processing and Taxa ID2/4/2022795786
FishMethods for Collection of Selenium Residue in Fish Tissue for KPDES12/9/20191168266
FishPreparation and Homogenization of Fish Tissue Samples3/1/20191786313
GroundwaterGroundwater Sampling3/31/20171276606
GroundwaterSpring Gaging12/11/200831586
HabitatMethods for Assessing Habitat in Wadeable Waters2/28/20223214610
Index Calculation DocumentsKY Macroinvertebrate Bioassessment Index1/1/2003768593
Index Calculation DocumentsKentucky Index of Biotic Integrity (KIBI) Overview1/1/200222775
Index Calculation DocumentsDevelopment and Application of the KY Index of Biotic Integrity1/1/20031262267
MacroinvertebratesMethods for Sampling Benthic Macro Communities in Wadeable Waters3/31/2015161889
Sampling and Field MeasurementsWater Quality Sampling in Lakes and Reservoirs4/1/20161920280
Sampling and Field MeasurementsIn-situ Water Quality Measurements and Meter Calibration3/12/2018451872
Sampling and Field MeasurementsMeasuring Stream Discharge3/1/20201290913
Sampling and Field MeasurementsSample Control and Management1/17/20231801739
Sampling and Field MeasurementsSampling Surface Water Quality in Lotic and Wetland2/4/20222468058
Water Quality AssessmentAddendum to CALM - KY Updated Fish Consumption Methods1/16/20201255939
Water Quality AssessmentCALM SOP for Assessment6/15/20152605509
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