>> Questions or Comments: aqp@tceq.texas.gov
You are here:

Air Quality Research: Quality Assurance

Research projects must include a formal Quality Assurance–Quality Control (QA/QC) program that will ensure products are of known and acceptable quality. The TCEQ has established QA/QC requirements developed to be consistent with the applicable elements.

Quality Assurance–Quality Control Procedures

The grant-activity description (GAD) or work order (WO) for projects must include a formal QA/QC program that will ensure products are of known and acceptable quality. These QA/QC requirements have been developed to be consistent with the applicable elements of ANSI/ASQ E4-2004: Quality Systems for Environmental Data and Technology Programs: Requirements with Guidance for Use and the TCEQ Quality Management Plan. If the performing party is aware of any additional requirements that will apply to the activities being performed, the performing party must include them in its GAD or WO. If the performing party becomes aware of any additional applicable requirements after the TCEQ has approved the GAD or WO, the performing party shall notify the TCEQ and submit a revised GAD or WO.

The GAD or WO shall include a quality-assurance project plan as a deliverable and key QA checks to be utilized during the project. The required QAPP elements and associated audit types, frequencies, and quality reports are further described in this section. A project may not commence technical activities until the QAPP is approved, unless the TCEQ project manager and the Air Quality Division’s quality-assurance officer both specifically approve, beforehand, in writing. The TCEQ may waive the requirement for a QAPP in a GAD or WO. If it does, and the performing party believes that a QAPP is necessary, the performing party must notify the TCEQ.

The QAPP will establish appropriate quality-control requirements for various types of research activities according to the categories and project types shown below. The intended use of the data dictates the required level of control quality. For example, the quality controls of a developmental research program are different from those of a regulatory compliance program because the purpose or intended use of the data is different. The four QA categories are:

  • Category I—for projects involving areas such as enforcement activities, or litigation.
  • Category II—for important, highly visible Agency projects involving areas such as supporting the development of environmental regulations or standards.
  • Category III—for projects involving applied research or technology evaluations.
  • Category IV—for projects involving basic research or preliminary data-gathering.

For categories I and II, QAPPs must meet the EPA Requirements for QA Project Plans (QA/R-5) (PDF) Exit the TCEQ (40 pp, 121 KB) and follow the guidance listed below. For QA Categories III and IV, QAPPs must meet a subset of the above requirements (depending on the type of project), which must be consistent with the EPA National Risk Management Research Laboratory QAPPs for the various project types listed below:

QAPP Category

Type of Project

Required QAPP

I, II

Monitoring for NAAQS Compliance

EPA Requirements for QA Project Plans, EPA QA/R-5 Exit the TCEQ (PDF)

I, II

Modeling for NAAQS Compliance

Guidance for Quality Assurance Project Plans for Modeling, EPA QA/G-5M Exit the TCEQ (PDF)

I, II

Geospatial

Guidance for Geospatial Data Quality Assurance Project Plans, EPA QA/G-5G Exit the TCEQ (PDF)

III, IV

Measurement

National Risk Management Research Laboratory (NRMRL) QAPP Requirements for Measurement Projects (PDF)

III, IV

Data Evaluation or Use for Secondary Purpose

NRMRL QAPP Requirements for Secondary Data Projects (PDF)

III, IV

Software Evaluation, Software Related Research, Software Maintenance, or Software Development

NRMRL QAPP Requirements for Software Development Projects (PDF)

III, IV

Method Development

NRMRL QAPP Requirements for Method Development Projects (PDF)

III, IV

Design, Construction, and Operation of Technology Projects

NRMRL QAPP Requirements for the Design, Construction, and Operation of Environmental Technology Projects (PDF)

III, IV

Research Model Development or Application

NRMRL QAPP Requirements for Research Model Development and Application Projects (PDF)

III, IV

Technology Assessment Projects

NRMRL QAPP Requirements for Technology Assessment Projects (PDF)

Note: A grantee may request the required QAPP for the specified project type from the TCEQ project manager or AQD quality-assurance officer.
In addition, the QAPP must address technical systems audits, audits of data quality, and reports of QA findings in accordance with the requirements shown in the following table:

QA Requirement

Category I*

Category II*

Category III*

Category IV*

Technical Systems Audits

Required for each project

Required for each project

Not required for the project

Not Required for the project

Audits of Data Quality**

Required (50% of the data sets)

Required (25% of the data sets)

Required (10% of the data sets)

Not required

Report of QA Findings

Required in draft and final report

Required in draft and final report

Required in final report

Required in final report

*The TCEQ may apply additional sets of requirements depending on the nature of the project.

**If problems are found, all data sets will be audited. This includes independent verification of every spreadsheet or automated calculation once and the percentage shown of manual calculations.