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 As a precautionary response to COVID-19, Ohio EPA is currently operating with most staff working remotely. If you are working with our staff on a current project and you know the name of the employee you are working with, email them at firstname.lastname@epa.ohio.gov or call them directly. The Agency website has contact information for every district, division, and office. In order to reach us, please contact Ohio EPA’s main phone line at (614) 644-3020 or the main line for the division or office you are trying to reach.

After March 23, our district offices and Central Office will be temporarily closed and will have increasingly limited ability to receive deliveries, plans, etc. All entities are encouraged to submit plans, permit applications, etc., electronically where there are existing avenues to do so, such as the eBusiness Center (eBiz). Please refer to the list of available services on the main eBiz webpage. We encourage you to make use of all that apply, even if you have not used eBiz in the past. Plans under 25 MB can be emailed. For large plans over 25 MB, entities should work with the reviewer/division to upload via LiquidFiles. Directions for submitting docs via LiquidFiles is available on YouTube. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you in advance for your understanding.

To report a spill or environmental emergency, contact the spill hotline (800) 282-9378 or (614) 224-0946

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.

Requirements for Participation

Participation is voluntary (except as noted for Other State Agencies). The program does not require volunteer groups or local governmental organizations to participate, and the program does not impose sampling or analytical requirements on any individuals or organizations that choose not to participate. However, individuals or organizations choosing to invest in surface water monitoring work without adhering to these requirements could find that Ohio EPA's ability to make use of the data collected will be limited.

Individuals who choose to participate in the credible data program must apply for, and be granted status as, a Qualified Data Collector (QDC).

Qualified Data Collector Requirements

Level 1 QDC Requirement - Successfully completed training offered through an acceptable educational monitoring program or an acceptable volunteer monitoring program.

Level 2 QDC Requirement - See Level 2 QDC requirements summary table [PDF 10K] for the following specialties. (Note: there is no Level 2 for fish community biology.)

Stream Habitat Assessment (QHEI) OAC 3745-4-03 (2)(a)

  • Complete the Introduction to WQS/BioCriteria/QHEI training
  • Receive a passing score on a Level 2 QHEI test site

Benthic Macroinvertebrate Biology

  • Introduction to WQS/BioCriteria/QHEI training STRONGLY ENCOURAGED
  • Must pass a “Family Level” taxonomic lab practical administered by Ohio EPA
  • Must meet all the requirements listed in OAC 3745-4-03 (2)(c)

Chemical Water Quality Assessment

  • Currently no training or testing requirement
  • Must meet all requirements listed in OAC 3745-4-03 (2)(d)

Level 3 QDC Requirement – See Level 3 QDC requirements summary table [PDF 14K] for the following specialties.

Stream Habitat Assessment (QHEI) OAC 3745-4-03 (4)(a)

  • Introduction to WQS/BioCriteria/QHEI training
  • Receive a passing score on the Level 2 QHEI test site
  • Assess and receive a passing score at QHEI test sites independently

Benthic Macroinvertebrate Biology

  • All categories below must meet all requirements listed in OAC 3745-4-03 (4)(d)
  • Identification only
    • HD Sample sorting provided by Ohio EPA or approved trainer
    • Must pass Level 3 lab practical examination comprised of 25 common macroinvertebrate taxa to identify to a specified level of taxonomy (mostly to genus & species)
  • Sample Collection and Data Evaluation only
    • Introduction to WQS/BioCriteria training – successful completion of:
      • Field work: sampling site logistics, site description, HD setting & retrieval (preset HD sample), qualitative sample collection, and data recording
      • Lab analysis: instruction on HD preparation, sample collection, sample processing, sorting, sub-sampling and identification based on Ohio EPA protocols
      • Classroom training on index calculation: overview of ICI, qualitative narrative evaluation
      • Trainee sorts HD/Qualitative samples and have those analyzed by a Level 3 macroinvertebrate identifier. Once returned, the trainee must generate their sample’s index calculation
    • Must pass a “Family Level” taxonomic lab practical administered by Ohio EPA
  • Sample Collection, Data Evaluation, and Identification
    • Introduction to WQS/BioCriteria training – successful completion of:
      • Field work: sampling site logistics, site description, HD setting & retrieval (preset HD sample), qualitative sample collection, and data recording
      • Lab analysis: instruction on HD preparation, sample collection, sample processing, sorting, sub-sampling and identification based on Ohio EPA protocols
      • Classroom training on index calculation: overview of ICI, qualitative narrative evaluation
    • Level 3 lab practical examination comprised of 25 common macroinvertebrate taxa to identify to a specified level of taxonomy (mostly to genus & species)

Fish Community Biology

    • Wading/Headwater only – Assessment of wading sites using long-line, backpack, or tote barge electrofishing gear
    • Boating only – Assessment of sites, using boat electrofishing gear
    • All Methods - Assessment of sites covering all sampling methods, techniques, and drainage areas
  • Must meet all requirements listed in OAC 3745-4-03 (4)(c)
  • Complete the Introduction to WQS/BioCriteria/QHEI training-successful completion of:
    • Field work: QHEI evaluation, instruction on Ohio EPA methods, sampling site logistics, electrofishing techniques, fish sorting procedures & data recording
    • Lab analysis: data management, indices calculation, determining aquatic life use designations, DELT Anomalies & fish sampling/safety issues
  • Assessment of three (3) approved testing sites from both the Ohio River and Lake Erie drainages
    • Must submit QHEI and field collection data sheets, along with IBI and MIwb calculations/scores
  • Must pass a fish sort exercise and lab identification practical, administered by Ohio EPA or an approved trainer

Chemical Water Quality Assessment

  • Currently no training or testing requirement
  • Must meet all requirements listed in OAC 3745-4-03 (4)(e)

Also, available is a table that compares the Level 2 and Level 3 requirements.
L2 L3 comparison table [PDF 14K]