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It is possible that external data submitted through the framework may contradict data submitted for the same water body by other external parties or collected by OWQ. Because data submitted to OWQ for Levels 1 and 2 uses are not used in regulatory decision making processes, conflicting data is noted by any OWQ programs using the data.
The issue of conflicting data becomes more important with regard to Level 3 due to the regulatory nature of the programs that might use these data. Two different scenarios are possible:
In these cases, OWQ will review all the information available to identify the more reliable dataset. OWQ will consider factors such as the relative data quality, which can vary somewhat within a given level, the amount of data in each data set, the age of the data, any bias apparent in the study design and other factors. In some cases, a clear answer is not evident from the information available. In these cases, OWQ staff will rely on best professional judgment in resolving the conflicting results to facilitate decision making.
OWQ will provide justification and documentation regarding the reconciliation of conflicting results and for any subsequent decisions based on the data. OWQ’s decisions on how to use conflicting data from external sources shall be considered final. Individuals and organizations that disagree with OWQ’s decisions regarding the use of their data may do so formally through the public comment periods built into the OWQ program that considered the data in their decision making processes.