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Triad Management
 Systematic Planning

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Multiagency support for Triad
Triad is a Federal/State Interagency Partnership

Systematic Planning

Systematic planning is the core of the Triad approach to managing decision-making uncertainty.

Comprehensive, up-front planning is essential to effectively complete any environmental project. Proper planning will assure that any data collected will lead to defensible decisions. Systematic planning is expected for projects led by the United States EPA whether the Triad is embraced or not. EPA's Policy and Program Requirements for the Mandatory Agency-wide Quality System (Order 360.1 CHG 1; EPA 1998) requires a systematic planning process for all data collection and use by or for the Agency. The systematic planning process has been assigned various titles by different organizations. For example, EPA has developed the Data Quality Objective (DQO) process to focus data collection planning when data will be used to determine whether or not site contamination exceeds regulatory exposure thresholds. The DQO process and its relationship to the Triad systematic planning process will be described in greater detail later in this section. Whatever name it is called, sufficient systematic planning that covers all project activities is critical to maximize project efficiency and effectiveness.

This section provides site managers additional detail on what constitutes a generic systematic planning process under the Triad, and how it should be implemented as part of a Triad approach. See also Best Management Practices: Use of Systematic Project Planning Under a Triad Approach for Site Assessment and Cleanup (PDF) (1.16 MB).

Triad systematic planning includes three primary elements: establishing the project foundation, constructing and maintaining a conceptual site model (CSM), and evaluating and managing decision-making uncertainty.
The systematic planning foundation is formed by identifying stakeholders, articulating objectives, addressing constraints, recognizing the regulatory framework, and specifying decision statements.
The conceptual site model synthesizes and crystallizes what is already known about a site that is pertinent to decision-making requirements.
The Triad emphasizes managing decision uncertainty through appropriate and cost-effective data collection that makes use of dynamic work strategies and real-time measurement technologies when possible.
The EPA's Data Quality Objectives process and the USACE's Technical Project Planning process are two examples of systematic planning frameworks that can be used to support a Triad approach.
Documents pertinent to the systematic planning process, including methods for developing and maintaining conceptual site models.

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