Environmental Engineer | Wikipedia audio article


Environmental engineering is a professional
engineering discipline that takes from broad scientific topics like chemistry, biology,
ecology, geology, hydraulics, hydrology, microbiology, and mathematics to create solutions that will
protect and also improves the health of living organisms and improve the quality of the environment. Environmental engineering is a sub-discipline
of civil engineering and chemical engineering. Environmental engineering is the application
of scientific and engineering principles to improve and maintain the environment to: protect human health,
protect nature’s beneficial ecosystems, and improve environmental-related enhancement
of the quality of human life.Environmental engineers devise solutions for waste water
management, water and air pollution control, recycling, waste disposal, and public health. They design municipal water supply and industrial
wastewater treatment systems, and design plans to prevent waterborne diseases and improve
sanitation in urban, rural and recreational areas. They evaluate hazardous-waste management systems
to evaluate the severity of such hazards, advise on treatment and containment, and develop
regulations to prevent mishaps. They implement environmental engineering law,
as in assessing the environmental impact of proposed construction projects. Environmental engineers study the effect of
technological advances on the environment, addressing local and worldwide environmental
issues such as acid rain, global warming, ozone depletion, water pollution and air pollution
from automobile exhausts and industrial sources.Most jurisdictions impose licensing and registration
requirements for qualified environmental engineers.==History=====Ancient civilizations===
Environmental engineering is a name for work that has been done since early civilizations,
as people learned to modify and control the environmental conditions to meet needs. As people recognized that their health was
related to the quality of their environment, they built systems to improve it. The ancient Indus Valley Civilization (3300
B.C.E. to 1300 B.C.E.) had advanced control over their water resources. The public work structures found at various
sites in the area include wells, public baths,water storage tanks, a drinking water system, and
a city-wide sewage collection system. They also had an early canal irrigation system
enabling large-scale agriculture.From 4000 to 2000 B.C.E., many civilizations had drainage
systems and some had sanitation facilities, including the Mesopotamian Empire, Mohenjo-Daro,
Egypt, Crete, and the Orkney Islands in Scotland. The Greeks also had aqueducts and sewer systems
that used rain and wastewater to irrigate and fertilize fields.The first aqueduct in
Rome was constructed in 312 B.C.E., and from there, they continued to construct aqueducts
for irrigation and safe urban water supply during droughts. They also built an underground sewer system
as early as the 7th century B.C.E. that fed into the Tiber River, draining marshes to
create farmland as well as removing sewage from the city.===Modern era===
Very little change was seen from the fall of Rome until the 19th century, where improvements
saw increasing efforts focused on public health. Modern environmental engineering began in
London in the mid-19th century when Joseph Bazalgette designed the first major sewerage
system following the Great Stink. The city’s sewer system conveyed raw sewage
to the River Thames, which also supplied the majority of the city’s drinking water, leading
to an outbreak of cholera. The introduction of drinking water treatment
and sewage treatment in industrialized countries reduced waterborne diseases from leading causes
of death to rarities.The field emerged as a separate academic discipline during the
middle of the 20th century in response to widespread public concern about water and
air pollution and other environmental degradation. As society and technology grew more complex,
they increasingly produced unintended effects on the natural environment. One example is the widespread application
of the pesticide DDT to control agricultural pests in the years following World War II. While the agricultural benefits were outstanding
and crop yields increased dramatically, reducing world hunger, and malaria was controlled better
than ever before, the pesticide brought numerous bird species to the edge of extinction due
to its impact on their reproductive cycle. The story of DDT as vividly told in Rachel
Carson’s Silent Spring (1962) is considered to be the birth of the modern environmental
movement, which led to the modern field of “environmental engineering.”==Education==
Many universities offer environmental engineering programs through either the department of
civil engineering or chemical engineering and also including electronic projects to
develop and balance the environmental conditions. Environmental engineers in a civil engineering
program often focus on hydrology, water resources management, bioremediation, and water and
wastewater treatment plant design. Environmental engineers in a chemical engineering
program tend to focus on environmental chemistry, advanced air and water treatment technologies,
and separation processes. Some subdivisions of environmental engineering
include natural resources engineering and agricultural engineering. Courses for students fall into a few broad
classes: Mechanical engineering courses oriented towards
designing machines and mechanical systems for environmental use such as water and wastewater
treatment facilities, pumping stations, garbage segregation plants, and other mechanical facilities. Environmental engineering or environmental
systems courses oriented towards a civil engineering approach in which structures and the landscape
are constructed to blend with or protect the environment. Environmental chemistry, sustainable chemistry
or environmental chemical engineering courses oriented towards understanding the effects
of chemicals in the environment, including any mining processes, pollutants, and also
biochemical processes. Environmental technology courses oriented
towards producing electronic or electrical graduates capable of developing devices and
artifacts able to monitor, measure, model and control environmental impact, including
monitoring and managing energy generation from renewable sources.===Curriculum===
The following topics make up a typical curriculum in environmental engineering:
Mass and Energy transfer Environmental chemistry
Inorganic chemistry Organic Chemistry
Nuclear Chemistry Growth models
Resource consumption Population growth
Economic growth Risk assessment
Hazard identification Dose-response Assessment
Exposure assessment Risk characterization
Comparative risk analysis Water pollution
Water resources and pollutants Oxygen demand
Pollutant transport Water and waste water treatment
Air pollution Industry, transportation, commercial and residential
emissions Criteria and toxic air pollutants
Pollution modelling (e.g. Atmospheric dispersion modeling)
Pollution control Air pollution and meteorology
Global change Greenhouse effect and global temperature
Carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen cycle IPCC emissions scenarios
Oceanic changes (ocean acidification, other effects of global warming on oceans) and changes
in the stratosphere (see Physical impacts of climate change)
Solid waste management and resource recovery Life cycle assessment
Source reduction Collection and transfer operations
Recycling Waste-to-energy conversion
Landfill==Applications=====Water supply and treatment===
Environmental engineers evaluate the water balance within a watershed and determine the
available water supply, the water needed for various needs in that watershed, the seasonal
cycles of water movement through the watershed and they develop systems to store, treat,
and convey water for various uses. Water is treated to achieve water quality
objectives for the end uses. In the case of a potable water supply, water
is treated to minimize the risk of infectious disease transmission, the risk of non-infectious
illness, and to create a palatable water flavor. Water distribution systems are designed and
built to provide adequate water pressure and flow rates to meet various end-user needs
such as domestic use, fire suppression, and irrigation.===Wastewater treatment===
There are numerous wastewater treatment technologies. A wastewater treatment train can consist of
a primary clarifier system to remove solid and floating materials, a secondary treatment
system consisting of an aeration basin followed by flocculation and sedimentation or an activated
sludge system and a secondary clarifier, a tertiary biological nitrogen removal system,
and a final disinfection process. The aeration basin/activated sludge system
removes organic material by growing bacteria (activated sludge). The secondary clarifier removes the activated
sludge from the water. The tertiary system, although not always included
due to costs, is becoming more prevalent to remove nitrogen and phosphorus and to disinfect
the water before discharge to a surface water stream or ocean outfall.===Air pollution management===
Scientists have developed air pollution dispersion models to evaluate the concentration of a
pollutant at a receptor or the impact on overall air quality from vehicle exhausts and industrial
flue gas stack emissions. To some extent, this field overlaps the desire
to decrease carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions from combustion processes.===Environmental impact assessment and mitigation
===Environmental engineers apply scientific and
engineering principles to evaluate if there are likely to be any adverse impacts to water
quality, air quality, habitat quality, flora and fauna, agricultural capacity, traffic,
ecology, and noise. If impacts are expected, they then develop
mitigation measures to limit or prevent such impacts. An example of a mitigation measure would be
the creation of wetlands in a nearby location to mitigate the filling in of wetlands necessary
for a road development if it is not possible to reroute the road. In the United States, the practice of environmental
assessment was formally initiated on January 1, 1970, the effective date of the National
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Since that time, more than 100 developing
and developed nations either have planned specific analogous laws or have adopted procedure
used elsewhere. NEPA is applicable to all federal agencies
in the United States.==Regulatory agencies=====
Environmental Protection Agency===The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
is one of the many agencies that work with environmental engineers to solve key issues. An important component of EPA’s mission is
to protect and improve air, water, and overall environmental quality in order to avoid or
mitigate the consequences of harmful effects.==See also=====Associations

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