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Quality Assurance for Section 319 Watershed Assistance Grants
The NH Department of Environmental Services (DES) Watershed Assistance Section administers Watershed Assistance Grants to support local projects that help control nonpoint source pollution. The funding for these grants comes from the US Environmental Protection Agency under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act. Any project funded by EPA that involves the collection, analysis, or manipulation of environmental data requires the preparation of a quality assurance (QA) document, i.e., a quality assurance project plan (QAPP) or a site specific project plan (SSPP). The QA document must be approved by DES and EPA prior to commencement of work.

The purpose of the QA document is to identify the type, quantity, and quality of data necessary to provide defensible, measurable results, and to verify project success. In recent years, DES has worked to develop generic or programmatic QAPPs for common types of projects funded under the Section 319 Watershed Assistance Grants Program, e.g., watershed surveying, watershed planning, pollutant load reduction modeling, etc. Projects conducting these activities, and others covered under generic or programmatic QAPPs, are able to complete an abbreviated QA document called a site specific project plan, specific to each activity.

The amount of time it takes to develop, write, and have a QAPP approved by DES and EPA is typically between – four and 12 months. Full QAPPs usually take longer than SSPPs. A typical QAPP development schedule is shown in the QAPP Process Time Table Adobe Acrobat Reader Symbol. The time frame largely depends on the initiative of the grant recipient to write and revise the QAPP. Once EPA has approved the QAPP, data collection work may begin. Organizations planning to conduct data collection (for example, water quality monitoring) as part of their project should plan for up to one year of lag time between proposal submittal and the start of monitoring.

 

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EPA Guidance Documents
There are two primary EPA guidance documents for preparing QAPPs, one for volunteer monitors and one for professional organizations. Depending on your association, you should use one of the following documents to prepare your QAPP.

  1. The Volunteer Monitor's Guide to QAPPs, EPA 841-B-96-003, Sept. 1996.
  2. EPA Requirements for Quality Assurance Project Plans (EPA QA/R-5), EPA/240/B-01/003, March 2001.
  3. Biological monitoring may need supplemental guidance documents, and will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

DES Quality Assurance Document Templates
DES has several templates available to grant recipients to assist in the preparation of QAPPs and SSPPs under generic/programmatic QAPPs. All QA documents received by the Watershed Assistance Section should be submitted electronically in Microsoft Word format, via e-mail or CD, using one the following templates:

Example QA Documents
In addition to the templates above, DES has the following approved QA documents available as examples to assist in the development of your QAPP.

Example Site Specific Project Plans (SSPP)
Pollutant Loading Analysis for BMP Implementation & Watershed Management Planning SSPP

Stream Morphology Data Collection SSPP

Example Individual Project QAPPs

For more example QAPPs, go to the EPA Region 1 Web site.

More Information
For more information on QAPPs, contact Jillian McCarthy, DES Watershed Assistance Section, at (603) 271-8475 or jillian.mccarthy@des.nh.gov.

 

 

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NH Department of Environmental Services | 29 Hazen Drive | PO Box 95 | Concord, NH 03302-0095
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