The U.S. Environmental Protection (EPA) Agency has developed an Agency-wide program of quality assurance for environmental data. EPA’s Quality System requires documentation of both management and technical activities. This guidance document, Guidance for Preparing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) provides a standard working tool that can be used to document routine quality system management and technical activities. It replaces EPA’s March 2001’s Guidance for Preparing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) EPA/240/B-01-004 with minimal revisions in text and new examples of both technical and administrative SOPs.
A Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) is a set of written instructions that document a routine or repetitive activity followed by an organization. The development and use of SOPs are an integral part of a successful quality system as it provides individuals with the information to perform a job properly, and facilitates consistency in the quality and integrity of a product or end-result. The term “SOP” may not always be appropriate and terms such as protocols, instructions, worksheets, and laboratory operating procedures may also be used. For this document “SOP” will be used.