(A) The director of environmental protection shall establish and maintain a water quality monitoring program to collect levels one, two, and three credible data for surface water monitoring and assessment. In the same manner provided in division (A)(2) of section 6111.51 of the Revised Code, the director shall adopt rules establishing the program. The rules shall describe the training and experience that are required for a person to become a qualified data collector in the program. The requirements shall be commensurate with the type and level of data collected. The rules shall require the training to include a thorough knowledge of applicable sampling protocols and field methods so that the data collection and interpretation are reproducible, scientifically defensible, and free from preconceived bias. The rules shall authorize individuals with the necessary academic credentials and experience to train other persons to be qualified data collectors.
The rules also shall require that the data collectors follow plans containing data collection methods, sampling and analysis methods, and quality assurance and quality control procedures that comply with those established in rules adopted under section 6111.51 of the Revised Code. The rules shall require that the plans contain the certification required under division (D) of this section. Plans shall not be required under the rules for credible data that are collected by the environmental protection agency, its contractors, or federal or state environmental agencies. Except as otherwise required by a permit issued by an agency of the state, by findings and orders issued by the director, or pursuant to a court order, plans shall not be required under the rules for data that are submitted pursuant to the requirements of the permit. The director may develop generic plans or generic components of plans for use by qualified data collectors.
(B) A qualified data collector may submit credible data to the director in accordance with a generic plan without submitting a plan to the director for approval under division (C) of this section.
(C) In lieu of submitting data pursuant to a generic plan, a qualified data collector who intends to submit credible data to the director may submit a site-specific plan that complies with the rules adopted under division (A) of this section. If a qualified data collector will be assisted by other persons who are not qualified data collectors, the plan shall include procedures for the supervision of their work to ensure the accuracy of the data collection. The plan shall identify whether the data to be collected are level one, two, or three credible data. The director shall review the plan to determine if it complies with the rules adopted under division (A) of this section and with this division. After reviewing the plan, the director shall either approve or disapprove it. A plan that is not disapproved within sixty days shall be considered to have been approved.
(D) A person who chooses to submit data for consideration as credible data shall document the person's status as a qualified data collector, demonstrate compliance with a generic plan or a site-specific plan, certify to the best knowledge and belief of the qualified data collector that the credible data were collected in accordance with the procedures required by the plan developed or approved under this section, and certify that the person has not been convicted of or pleaded guilty to a violation of section 2911.21 of the Revised Code or a substantially similar municipal ordinance within the previous five years. The director shall not consider data submitted by a qualified data collector that are not accompanied by the certification required under this division.
No person is required to submit any of the data collected pursuant to a plan developed or approved under this section unless submission of the data is otherwise required by law, but a person submitting some data pursuant to such a plan shall submit all data collected pursuant to the plan.
(E) The director shall verify that a person submitting data is a qualified data collector, review all data collected by a qualified data collector, and determine that all components of the plan for the collection of the data were followed. If the director determines that the data were collected by a qualified data collector in accordance with required procedures, the director shall approve the data as credible. The director shall provide the qualified data collector with written notice informing the qualified data collector as to whether the data have been approved, including the level at which the data qualify as credible data.
(F) The director shall retain all information submitted by a qualified data collector for a period of not less than ten years from the date of receipt. All information submitted is a public record.
Effective Date: 10-21-2003