Municipal Affairs and Environment

Quality Assurance, Control and Assessment

To ensure the effectiveness and reliability of the Real Time Water Quality (RTWQ) Monitoring Program, quality assurance, quality control and quality assessment procedures have been implemented.

Quality Assurance

Quality Assurance (QA) includes all high-level activities, structures and mechanisms used to ensure and document the accuracy, precision, completeness, effectiveness and representativeness of the RTWQ monitoring program. Quality assurance ensures the overall integrity of the program design and consists of two separate but interrelated activities: Quality Control (QC) and Quality Assessment. Quality Assurance program elements include:

  • Provincial RTWQ monitoring program plan.
  • Ensuring probe maintenance and warranty checks are carried out in compliance with manufacturer recommendations.
  • Personnel qualification and training.
  • Technical procedures for sampling and conducting field and analytical work.
  • Troubleshooting of instruments, recording equipment, installations, transmission of data and corrective action plans.
  • Record keeping including chain of custody for grab samples, logbooks and instrument calibration records.
  • Implementation of QA/QC procedures including data verification and validation.
  • Preparation of analytical reports, data packages and RTWQ web page.
  • Assessments to determine whether personnel are adhering to program requirements and following internal procedures.
  • Expert peer review of RTWQ program design, QA/QC procedures and data analysis.
  • Keep up to date on emerging RTWQ technology, QA/QC procedures, and analysis techniques.
  • Develop first hand knowledge of each individual watershed through observation and field visits.

Quality Control

Quality control refers to the technical activities employed to ensure that the data collected are adequate for quality assessment purposes. This includes feedback systems to ensure activities are working as planned and intended, and to verify that procedures are being carried out satisfactorily. Quality Control program elements include:

  • Maintenance and calibration of the probe and its sensors on a monthly basis.
  • Inspection and maintenance of RTWQ station installation.
  • Field readings taken at the time of removal and reinstallation of the probe for maintenance and calibration purposes using a calibrated field instrument.
  • Collection of a water quality grab sample at the time of reinstallation of the probe to be sent to a laboratory for analysis.
  • Updating maintenance forms with collected field instrument readings after reinstallation.
  • Updating spreadsheet with grab sample results once laboratory analysis is complete.

Quality Assessment

Quality assessment activities are implemented to quantify the effectiveness of the quality control procedures. Quality Assessment program elements include:

  • Comparison of field results (taken during removal and reinstallation with the field instrument) with the chronologically closest RTWQ results from the probe to evaluate the amount of drift observed in water quality parameters over that period.
  • Evaluate whether field and actual readings are within acceptable ranges, by how much the reading is off (if not within acceptable ranges), and reasons why the parameter reading may be off.
  • Calculate long-term and monthly period summary statistics using the corrected data.
  • Produce time series graphs for each parameter and evaluate for gaps, data errors, and guideline exceedances for pH, dissolved oxygen and turbidity.
  • Publishing and daily updates of RTWQ data from telemetry sites on the Water Resources Division web page for review.
  • Preparation of auxiliary information to aid in the review of water quality records.
  • Produce a monthly period report for each station, including any problems with maintenance, calibration and QA/QC procedures; any data issues; time series graphs and summary statistics for each parameter; brief explanations for observed results; and data qualification statements.
  • Produce an annual report for each RTWQ industry station at the end of each calendar year.
  • Archiving of RTWQ monitoring data records.
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