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In late 2017, the E-Enterprise Leadership Council identified improving the process for Quality Assurance Project Plans (QAPPs) as a priority.

The goal of this project is to improve the timely development, review, and approval of QAPPs to support state and tribal partners’ collection and use of quality environmental data.

CHALLENGE

Tribes and states can experience challenges when developing and seeking U.S. EPA approval of their QAPPs, which are required when using grant funding for data collection. E-Enterprise for the Environment provides a collaborative forum for EPA, states, and tribes to work together to develop solutions that work for all partners. A “QAPP” team will address issues related to inconsistencies, timeliness and transparency in the QAPP process.  

BENEFITS

  1. Accelerate time: Provide a reasonable timeframe for submitting and approving QAPPs prior to data collection.
  • Commit to review a grantee’s QAPP in under 45 days or less, using checklist located in EPA’s Requirements for QA Project Plans
  • Use a digital signature, where appropriate
  • Facilitate development of QAPPs to increase a review without multiple re-dos
  1. Includes developing of a resource directory in coordination with states and tribes
  2. Assessing training and technical assistance needs for states and tribes
  3. Implement pre-meetings with grantee before QAPP development begins
  1. Improve transparency: Clarify the approval process so that states/tribes/RQAMs are aware of next steps and potential bottlenecks.
  • Explore option for creating an online tracking tool usable by EPA, States and Tribes
  • Improve communication between grantee and EPA QA Staff
  1. Ensure consistency: Apply the same criteria and approaches for reviewing similar QAPPs.
  • Revise U.S. EPA QAPP requirements and guidance documents in coordination with states and tribes to prevent subjective review
  • Explore options for fillable forms, with suggested language options depending on grant program, to assist with completing QAPPs
  • Standardize grant terms and conditions, including directing grantee to available technical assistance for completely QAPPs, in both in the grant solicitation and award document (funding request)

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

In Fall 2018, the QAPP workgroup members and EPA quality management and staff held a Lean Kaizen event. Select action items are highlighted above.