Quality Assurance for Projects Funded by the National Estuary Program

Everyone who receives funding for a project from the federal EPA’s National Estuary Program (NEP) through any Washington state agency will need to work with the NEP Quality Coordinator at the Department of Ecology to fulfill Quality Assurance requirements. First, submit a Waiver Form as soon as a final agreement or contract Statement of Work is in place, whether or not you expect a Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP) will be required.

Click to see Simplified NEP Flowchart

Quality Assurance Project Planning (QAPP) - Waiver Form for the National Estuary Program is the waiver form. Answer all questions as directed, and submit it to tom.gries@ecy.wa.gov.

If you discover that you will need to prepare and submit a QAPP, the following resources should help. For an illustration of the overall quality assurance process, click on the flowcharts to the right.

The Quality Assurance Project Plan Template provides the format for drafting QAPPs that describe many different types of environmental projects. It contains instructions and helpful resources built into the template itself. This template was developed for projects at the Department of Ecology but can be adapted for other groups.

Guidelines for Preparing Quality Assurance Project Plans for Environmental Studies is a downloadable Ecology publication that provides detailed guidance on preparing a QAPP. It includes a glossary and a review checklist.

Examples of Quality Assurance Project Plans for the National Estuary Program links to well-written QAPPs for completed projects. Each contains the required QAPP elements, though some may not reflect the current template format.

If you need additional assistance, contact Tom Gries the NEP Quality Coordinator at tom.gries@ecy.wa.gov or call 360-407-6327.

Send Forms and QAPPS

Email all QAPP Waiver Forms and Draft QAPPs to the NEP Quality Coordinator Tom Gries at tom.gries@ecy.wa.gov a minimum of four weeks before gathering new environmental data, analyzing existing environmental data, or modeling environmental conditions in order to allow time for the approval process. 

More Resources

Click to see Detailed NEP Flowchart

Standard Operating Procedures

QAPPs for projects involving field measurements, field samples, and other field activities must identify standard methods and standard operating procedures (SOPs) whenever possible.

Quality Assurance at Ecology contains the Department of Ecology’s SOPs. QAPPs for NEP projects may cite these SOPs, but only if the procedures will be followed.

Accredited Laboratories

New environmental data collected as part of NEP-funded projects must reflect analyses performed by accredited labs using accredited methods.

Laboratory Accreditation has more information on accreditation and laboratories.

Lab Search is an interactive database of laboratories accredited in Washington state.

Related information

EPA’s Agency-wide Quality System Documents