Data Quality Assessment Elements for
Identification of Impaired Surface
The Department relies on environmental
data from a variety of sources to carry out its mission.
Those data must satisfy the needs for which they were collected, comply
with applicable standards, specifications and statutory requirements, and
reflect a consideration of cost and economics.
Careful project planning, and routine project and data reviews, are
essential to ensure that the data collected are relevant to the decisions being
Many aspects of a project affect data
quality. Sampling design, selection
of parameters, sampling technique, analytical methodologies and data management
activities are a few such aspects, whether the data are being collected for a
compliance program, or for research activities. The level of quality of each of those elements will affect
the final management decisions that are based on a projectís outcome.
Data quality assessment is one activity that is instrumental in ensuring
that data collected are relevant and appropriate for the decisions being made.
the needs of the project, the intended use of the final data and the degree of
confidence required in the quality of the results, data quality assessment can
be conducted at many levels. For
the purposes of identification of impaired surface waters, the level of data
quality assessment to be conducted (Table 1) requires providing the appropriate
data elements (Table 2).
If the data
and applicable data elements are in an electronic format, data quality
assessments can be performed automatically on large volumes of data using
software tools, without significant impact to staffing.
Department programs can realize significant improvement in environmental
protection without additional process using these types of reviews routinely.
1: Recommended Quality Assessment
2: Data Elements Related to Quality
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