Credible Data - References

Credible Data is a program that classifies surface water monitoring performed by watershed groups, state agencies, schools, local volunteers and other organizations. Ohio EPA uses the data submitted under the program in ways prescribed by State law.

Study Plans

Study plans are required for all water quality monitoring projects undertaken pursuant to the credible data rules. The person submitting the project study plan must be a Qualified Data Collector (QDC). Ohio EPA will review project study plans (depending upon available personnel) within 60 days of receipt. Ohio EPA will notify the person submitting the project study plan when deficiencies are found, and provide an opportunity to re-submit the plan. If not disapproved within 60 days, the project study plan is considered approved. The administrative rules for the program provide guidelines for the study plan content. Under the regulations the QDC is obligated to adhere to the study plan throughout the sampling effort.

Project Study Plans

All project study plans should be submitted to Ohio EPA (see Contact Information). Ohio EPA has 60 days to act on the plan or it is automatically approved. Once a project study plan is approved, the QDC has one year to initiate the project and begin submitting the data to Ohio EPA (see Submission of Data).

Level 1 – A study plan for a project designed for public awareness and/or educational purposes should be based upon guidance materials available from the sources listed below or other similar resources.

Level 2 – A study plan for a project designed for initial screening of water quality or for evaluating the effectiveness of pollution control efforts must be compiled using the guidelines found in Appendix A of rule 3745-4-05. Appendix B gives laboratory quality assurance plan guidelines.

Level 3 – A study plan for a project designed for any of the regulatory purposes stipulated in the law must be compiled using the guidelines found in Appendix A of rule 3745-4-06. Appendix B gives laboratory quality assurance plan guidelines.

Approved Project Study Plans

If you would like to see other Project Study Plans, either to see what if any sampling has been done in your area, or would just like to see approved examples, you can visit the link below to see the locations of approved study plans displayed on a map of Ohio. Each location is linked to a copy of the approved project study plan.

Generic Study Plans

The Division of Surface Water also expects to generate one or more Generic Study Plans for common water quality projects. Once these are available, they may be implemented without prior approval. However, the Division of Surface Water recommends that the QDC notify Ohio EPA of his or her intent to sample under a generic study plan 90 days in advance of the project to allow time for consultation. We think this will result in the best use of your resources and increased likelihood of generating credible data approvable at the level intended by the QDC.

Study Plan or QAPP?

U.S. EPA requires a Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP) for all U.S. EPA-funded monitoring of surface waters. All Section 319 funded projects have the QAPP requirements. Guidelines under the credible data rules for Level 2 and Level 3 study plans cover many of the same elements that U.S. EPA requires in QAPPs. If you are receiving U.S. EPA funding for your monitoring work you should be able use the information in the QAPP to fulfill most Level 2 and Level 3 study planning guidelines. QDCs in this situation are encouraged to contact Ohio EPA. Efforts will be made to streamline the preparation and review process.