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Quality Assurance Project Plans for Nonpoint Source Projects

Requirements and guidelines for Quality Assurance Project Plans necessary for environmental data collection.


A Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP) is required for all environmental data operations funded by the TCEQ Nonpoint Source Program (NPS). Environmental data includes information that describes environmental processes, location, conditions, ecological consequences, or health effects.

Environmental data operations can be any of the following:

  • Measurements of water volume or quality, including laboratory, field, and automated analysis of water flow, chemistry, or other parameters (collectively known as “monitoring” or primary data).
  • Generating new geospatial data.
  • Mathematical/statistical analysis, including modeling, using environmental monitoring and/or geospatial data.
  • Acquiring existing data (a.k.a. secondary data) – monitoring, geospatial, or other – and including it in new mathematical/statistical analyses.

All work involving the collection of primary and/or secondary environmental data shall be performed in accordance with a TCEQ-approved QAPP that meets all applicable TCEQ and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirements.

No grantee may begin data collection, analysis, or other work covered by this requirement before receipt of a QAPP authorizing the work, signed by TCEQ. Without prejudice to any other remedies available to TCEQ, TCEQ may refuse reimbursement for any environmental data collection performed prior to approval of a QAPP by TCEQ.

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Shell Documents

QAPP shells provide both instructions and templates for developing, amending, and re-certifying QAPPs under the NPS 319(h) grant program.

Shells for New QAPPs

The Primary (Monitoring) Shell should be used for projects involving water volume and/or quality monitoring.

The Modeling Shell should be used for projects involving mathematical/statistical analysis, modeling, acquired (secondary) data, and/or geospatial data.

To obtain the most recent QAPP Shell applicable to your project please contact your NPS Project Manager.

Shells for Amendments and Annual Certifications

If changes in methodologies arise during the course of a project, the QAPP will need to be amended and all effected data operations must cease until the QAPP Amendment is approved by TCEQ. Your NPS Project Manager can provide you with the most recent and applicable Amendment Shell.

Every NPS QAPP will be effective for a period of three years from date of approval and must be recertified annually to remain valid. Your NPS Project Manager will notify you when your QAPP is 120 days from its anniversary and will provide you with the most recent Annual Certification Shell.

If environmental data operations must continue past the expiration date of a QAPP, a new QAPP (Revision) must be submitted and approved by TCEQ before the current QAPP reaches the end of its three-year term. Your NPS Project Manager will assist you with this process and provide any necessary shell documents.

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Quality Assurance Requirements and Guidance

Data Collection and Reporting

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For More Information

To find out more about QAPPs or the NPS Program please contact your NPS Project Manager, call 512-239-6682, or e-mail us at

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