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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
AlgaeLaboratory Procedures for Chlorophyll a Analysis in Water4/18/2017474896
AlgaeDiatom Taxonomic Identification and Enumeration8/27/2018993714
AlgaePreparation and Processing Algae Samples for Diatom Identification3/1/2009163091
AlgaeField Assessments for Benthic Algae in Wadeable Waters3/1/2009158708
AlgaeCollection Methods for Benthic Algae in Wadeable Waters3/1/2009170613
BacteriaEnzyme Substrate Test for the Detection of Total Coliforms and Escherichia coli8/27/20181633434
FishPreparation and Homogenization of Fish Tissue Samples5/11/2017749690
FishMethods for Collection of Selenium in Fish Tissue12/9/2019735213
FishCollection Methods for Fish in Wadeable Streams1/1/2010200567
FishCollection of Fish in Large Wadeable and Non-Wadeable Streams and Rivers9/1/2016232372
FishLaboratory Procedures for Fish Processing and Identification5/7/2009129971
GroundwaterGroundwater Sampling3/31/20171038366
GroundwaterSpring Gaging12/11/200831586
HabitatMethods for Assessing Habitat in Wadeable Waters5/11/2011377134
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
MacroinvertebratesBenthic Macroinvertebrates Processing and Identification5/1/20151291393
MacroinvertebratesBenthic Macroinvertebrates Collection Methods in Wadeable Streams 3/31/2015170416
MacroinvertebratesMethods for Collecting Macroinvertebrate Samples as Required for TMDL Alternative Studies and/or Watershed-based Plans9/30/20151952715
Sampling and Field MeasurementsWater Quality Sampling in Lakes and Reservoirs4/1/2016635027
Sampling and Field MeasurementsSample Control and Management7/9/2009431238
Sampling and Field MeasurementsMeasuring Stream Discharge5/1/2010357511
Sampling and Field MeasurementsIn-situ Water Quality Measurements and Meter Calibration3/12/2018345953
Sampling and Field MeasurementsSampling Surface Water Quality in Lotic Systems1/10/20111832974
Water Quality AssessmentConsolidated Assessment and Listing Methodology: Surface Water Quality Assessments6/15/20154392435