Quality Assurance Plans

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Quality Assurance Plan — Nevada Brownfields Program
More About the Quality Assurance Plan
Quality Systems


Quality Assurance Plan — Nevada Brownfields Program

The Nevada Brownfields Program Quality Assurance Plan establishes data quality requirements for environmental site assessments and site cleanups completed by the Nevada Brownfields Program and its statewide Brownfields contractors.

The 5-year review produced a revised Quality Assurance Plan, which was updated in accordance with US EPA Region 9 quality assurance guidelines as contained in EPA/QA/R-5. The effective date of the revised Quality Assurance Plan for the Nevada Brownfields Program is 01/03/2022.

More About the Quality Assurance (QA) Plan

What is a QA Plan?
A QA Plan describes the quality process that is used by a particular program; in this case, the Nevada Brownfields Program (NBP). The plan describes the program's organization, quality objectives, quality control processes, and assessment and oversight functions. The EPA Requirements for Quality Assurance Project Plans, EPA/QA/R-5 (March 2001), states that: "All organizations conducting environmental programs funded by EPA are required to establish and implement a quality system." A QA Plan is part of that quality system.

Why does the Nevada Brownfields Program need a QA Plan?
Programs and projects receiving funding from EPA as extramural agreements are subject to EPA quality requirements. Authorizing regulations for these requirements include 40 CFR Part 31 "Uniform Administrative Requirements for Grants and Cooperative Agreements to State and Local Governments" and Part 35, "State and Local Assistance."

EPA requires that agreements with states document the organization's quality system, as well as program and project-specific QA and quality control (QC) activities. Environmental projects that are directly funded by EPA Region 9 are required to have a QA Plan. The QA Plan describes what type of activities or projects require a QA Project Plan or other QA documentation, and which are covered directly under the QA Plan. The QA Plan also describes what information the project plans should include or provides appropriate references, such as EPA's QA/R-5, EPA Requirements for Quality Assurance Project Plans.

What is the benefit of having an approved Brownfields QA Plan?
An EPA-approved QA Plan provides the NBP Quality Coordinator the authority to review and approve project plans. This allows a quicker turnaround of sampling and analysis plans (SAPs) submitted for Brownfields projects and helps keep project schedules on track. The NBP Quality Coordinator will review submitted field sampling plans (FSPs) and SAPs to evaluate whether the sampling event will satisfy project goals and if it includes sufficient QC elements to assure appropriate data quality.

Who would use the Brownfields QA Plan?
Consultants working on NBP projects must read and understand the specific sampling and analytical requirements outlined in the NBP QA Plan. In turn, this plan may be referenced in the case of routine sampling and routine analyses, allowing consultants to prepare a more succinct FSP or SAP for many NBP projects. Projects with standard media and analyses would require only an FSP and a citation of the QA Plan. Projects with unusual media or analyses would require a project-specific SAP, with a description of the QA/QC specifics for the non-standard media and analyses.

What project-specific plans are required for Nevada Brownfields Program projects?
Any project that involves environmental sampling needs to have an approved FSP or SAP. The SAP template provided by EPA Region 9 may be used as a basis for NBP project-specific plans. This template is modified to suit a particular project; for example, projects without any type of sediment sampling need not include Section 4.2, Sediment Sampling; Section 6.4, Sediment Sampling; and Section 7.2, Sediment Samples. The idea is to tailor the basic template to best fit your project.

Contact Information:
NBP Coordinator: Ruben Ramos-Avina, rramos-avina [at] ndep.nv.gov
Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP), Superfund Branch

NBP Quality Coordinator: Michael Antoine, mantoine [at] ndep.nv.gov
NDEP, Lab Certification Branch

Web Links for Quality Information:

Quality Systems

  • What is a Quality System?
    A structured and documented management system describing how and by whom an organization assures quality in its work.
  • What is Quality Management?
    The process by which quality system specifications are planned, implemented, and assessed ("making the system work").
  • What is Quality Assurance?
    An integrated system of management activities to ensure that a process, item, or service is of the type and quality needed and expected by the user.
  • What is Quality Control?
    The overall system of technical activities that compares performance against defined standards to verify that stated requirements are met.

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