The Quality Assurance (QA) system for the DEP regulatory, land and 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 data used by the department are appropriate and scientifically sound, and that the procedures used to generate these data are designed to produce reproducible, comparable, reliable, representative and defensible data within known limits of precision, accuracy and sensitivity.
The department's QA requirements for analytical laboratories and field activities are codified in Chapter 62-160, Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.), Quality Assurance (QA Rules). Revisions to Chapter 62-160, F.A.C., and the incorporated DEP Standard Operating Procedures, 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.
AEQAS staff provide technical guidance and support for sample collection (including appropriate techniques, field testing procedures and instrument calibration), quality control requirements, data interpretation and analytical tests related to chemistry, microbiology, toxicity, taxonomic identification (macroinvertebrates, algae and 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 Division of Air Resource Management.
AEQAS staff provide training on a wide range of subjects including:
sampling and sample project design
data review and validation
QA requirements for contracts/grants/purchase orders
developing quality systems and quality plans
AEQAS 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, records audits, and project audits on completed work to determine the reliability and usability of the data.
AEQAS 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.
Upon request, AEQAS staff review sampling and analysis proposals associated with grants, contracts, purchase orders, and special projects to ensure that appropriate QA procedures and criteria are incorporated into the scope of work, in compliance with QA Rule requirements and project data quality objectives.
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 DEP 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.