There are three general characteristics of the data to be collected in a monitoring program that should be met in order to maximize the use and value of the data: the data quality should be known the data type and quality should be consistent and comparable, and the data should be available and accessible. Potential problems with each of these characteristics are addressed effectively by quality assurance and quality control. One of the most important aspects of quality assurance in a monitoring program is the development of a quality assurance plan, which should identify clearly the quality of the data needed and describe in detail the planned actions to provide confidence that the program will meet its stated objectives. Quality control data, which allow for the quality and suitability of the environmental data to be evaluated and ascertained, should be collected and utilized as an integral part of the QA effort associated with a monitoring program.
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Quality assurance and quality control in monitoring programs