The Quality Assurance (QA) system for the DEP regulatory (water & waste), land & recreation, and ecosystem restoration programs is coordinated by the Aquatic Ecology and Quality Assurance Section (AEQAS) of the Water Quality Standards Program. The mission of DEP’s QA Program is to ensure that the environmental sampling and analysis data used by the department are appropriate and scientifically sound, and that the procedures used to generate these data are designed to produce data that are reproducible, comparable, reliable, representative, and defensible within known limits of precision, accuracy and sensitivity. The department's quality assurance requirements for analytical laboratories and field activities are codified in Chapter 62-160, Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.), Quality Assurance (QA Rules).
The QA Program administered by AEQAS provides technical guidance and support for sample collection and analytical tests related to chemistry, microbiology, toxicity, taxonomic identification (macroinvertebrates, algae, plants) and other bioassessment procedures. Excluded are sample collection and/or analytical tests related to air quality monitoring and asbestos, which are overseen by the DEP Division of Air Resource Management. QA staff conduct various audits to determine compliance with the QA Rules and specific project data quality objectives, and provide assistance for implementing corrective actions for improving processes. Audits include on-site field and laboratory audits, as well as project audits on completed work to determine the reliability and usability of the data. QA staff assist in the development and review of Quality Plans for DEP work groups and programs to facilitate the implementation of quality systems throughout the department. QA staff also review sampling and analysis proposals associated with grants, contracts, purchase orders, and special projects to ensure that appropriate quality assurance procedures and criteria are incorporated into the scope of work, in compliance with QA Rule requirements and project data quality objectives. AEQAS staff also provide training on a wide range of subjects including lab certification readiness, sampling project design, data review, data validation, auditing, and quality planning. QA staff also provide technical assistance to the department community on matters relating to proper and appropriate methods for sampling, field testing procedures and instrument calibration, laboratory analysis, quality control requirements, and data interpretation.
Revisions to Chapter 62-160, F.A.C., and the incorporated DEP Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), published as the collections numbered DEP-SOP-001/01, DEP-SOP-002/01 and DEP-SOP-003/11, were effective as of 4/16/18. Contact DEP QA staff for summaries of all adopted revisions.
The purpose of the QMP is to document DEP’s quality systems for the regulatory (water & waste), land & recreation, and ecosystem restoration programs, and to provide a blueprint for how the Department will plan, implement, and assess its quality systems for the environmental work performed by these programs on behalf of, or funded by, the EPA.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.