Technical System Audits

Technical Systems Audits (TSAs) of Field Operations are conducted to assess whether the IMPROVE sampling sites are in compliance with the IMPROVE Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP).  TSAs focus primarily on evaluating the sampling sites and the particle samplers in the field. In conducting a TSA, the auditor:

  • Assesses whether the sampling site meets siting criteria for an IMPROVE sampler;
  • Evaluates the integrity of the sampling structure;
  • Checks the flow rate of each sampling module using a NIST certified flow meter;
  • Observes the technique of the site operator (when possible); and
  • Asks the site operator to complete a questionnaire to ensure that (s)he has adequate sampler and sample change knowledge, that all safety concerns have been addressed, and that the current IMPROVE Operations Contractor (currently UC Davis) is providing adequate support to run the site.


Starting in 2016, the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA) at Colorado State University began conducting TSAs, as well as overseeing the TSA program.  Audits are also conducted by IMPROVE partners.  Between CIRA and IMPROVE partners, TSAs are conducted each year on a subset of IMPROVE sampling sites. A goal is to complete TSAs at all sites over a 10 year time period, although some sites are expected to have multiple TSAs during this time.  Based on the results of these audits, the IMPROVE Operations contractor will address any minor problems found. Major problems will be addressed by a joint committee including the PI of the IMPROVE Operations contractor, the Steering Committee Chair, and the Contracting Officer Representative at NPS.

A summary of audit results can be found in the annual TSA reports:

2016 Annual TSA Report

2017 Annual TSA Report

Auditor Trainings will be held March 29-30, 2017 in Denver, CO and April 13-14 , 2017 in Phoenix, AZ.  Contact Derek Day for more information.

TSA Lead.  Derek Day.

Auditor Resources

Technical System Audit Form

Technical System Audit Form for New Controller

Audit Checklist

Auditor Training Presentation

SAFETY CONCERNS:  Auditors should be aware of potential risks associated with rodents at these sites.  Information is available from the USFS, NPS, and the CDC.  A sample Job Hazard Analysis from Glacier National Park is also available.