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Data Quality Objectives (DQO) Managing Uncertainty and Systematic Planning for Environmental Decision Making
Hosted by U.S. Department of Energy, EM-3 in cooperation with EPA OSWER, the DOE Richland Operations Office, and Bechtel Hanford, Inc.

The U.S. Department of Energy, EM-3, in cooperation with EPA OSWER, the DOE Richland Operations Office, and Bechtel Hanford, Inc., has developed a 3 1/2 day training course with the objective to "institutionalize" Managing Uncertainty and Systematic Planning throughout the ten EPA Regions, the States, and the environmental community.

EPA has recognized the Data Quality Objectives process as an excellent method to manage uncertainty and to accomplish systematic planning. The course provides instruction on the practical management and implementation of the U.S. EPA's 7-Step DQO Process. The target audience is EPA RPMs (CERCLA, RCRA, CWA, CAA), EPA Contractors, PRPs and PRP Contractors, State Regulators and their Contractors, EPA and State management, technical support staff, and their contractor project managers/engineers and technical support staff, as well as Federal, State and local Stakeholders. The first day explains the "big picture" and presents the many free tools available for use in developing defensible sampling designs, while the last two days provide the details of implementation of the DQO Process and includes a case study. The focus of the implementation is to streamline and document the process and provide a standard approach to systematic planning.

The course includes an introduction to basic statistical concepts in a non-threatening manner via demonstrations and hands-on exercises using common objects such as coins, marbles, and beads. Computer simulations reinforce the hands-on exercises and provide visually compelling illustrations of key concepts. These examples show the necessity of developing valid sampling designs so that the populations of waste, soil, water, air, etc., are properly represented in any data used to make decisions. The various tools presented in the course and available for use will help Decision-Makers quickly see and evaluate various sampling designs, make real time changes, and select the optimal cost and quality design during the DQO process.

At the end of the three days, the student has the knowledge to generate defensible sampling designs that support making correct environmental decisions. The course is applicable to projects that require data to support decisions such as those related to site assessment, investigation, characterization, and remediation, surface and groundwater compliance, decontamination and decommissioning, waste classification and management, and long-term stewardship.

The Visual Sample Plan Training Course provides practical, hands-on training in the use of the Visual Sample Plan (VSP) software in the context of the Data Quality Objectives (DQO) approach. This is an optional 3-hour hands-on computer course offered on the fourth day.

For more information about Data Quality Objectives please visit this website: For general information contact Sebastian Tindall by telephone at 509-372-9195 or via e-mail at

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