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Environmental Engineering

A career path for those who care about solving the most pressing issues in the world, and revolutionising the energy, waste and health industries.

What Environmental Engineers Do

Environmental engineers apply the principles of biology, engineering, soil science, and chemistry to design and develop innovative solutions to environmental problems.

Environmental Engineers are heavily involved in efforts to improve technologies and processes that aim to improve the Environment. These include recycling, waste disposal, public health, water and air pollution control, amongst many others.

Career opportunities for Environmental Engineers exist in public environmental organisations and policy, or in a variety of consulting and technical roles in industry.

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Relevant Jobs

Agricultural Engineers apply knowledge of engineering technology and biological science to agricultural problems concerned with power and machinery, electrification, structures, soil and water conservation, and processing of agricultural products.

Typical Tasks Include:

  • Prepare reports, sketches, working drawings, specifications, proposals, and budgets for proposed sites or systems.
  • Discuss plans with clients, contractors, consultants, and other engineers so that they can be evaluated and necessary changes made.
  • Meet with clients, such as district or regional councils, farmers, and developers, to discuss their needs.
  • Provide advice on water quality and issues related to pollution management, river control, and ground and surface water resources.
  • Plan and direct construction of rural electric-power distribution systems, and irrigation, drainage, and flood control systems for soil and water conservation.

Environmental Engineers research, design, plan, or perform engineering duties in the prevention, control, and remediation of environmental hazards using various engineering disciplines.Work may include waste treatment, site remediation, or pollution control technology.

Tasks Typically Include:

  • Design, or supervise the design of, systems, processes, or equipment for control, management, or remediation of water, air, or soil quality.
  • Advise corporations or government agencies of procedures to follow in cleaning up contaminated sites to protect people and the environment.
  • Collaborate with environmental scientists, planners, hazardous waste technicians, engineers, experts in law or business, or other specialists to address environmental problems.
  • Obtain, update, or maintain plans, permits, or standard operating procedures.
  • Serve as liaison with federal, state, or local agencies or officials on issues pertaining to solid or hazardous waste program requirements.

Environmental Engineering Technicians apply theory and principles of environmental engineering under the direction of engineering staff or scientists.

They modify, test, and operate equipment and devices used in the prevention, control, and remediation of environmental problems, including waste treatment and site remediation,

They may also assist in the development of environmental remediation devices.

Environmental Restoration Planners collaborate with field and biology staff to oversee the implementation of restoration projects and to develop new products. They also process and synthesize complex scientific data into practical strategies for restoration, monitoring or management.

Tasks Typically Include:

  • Collect and analyze data to determine environmental conditions and restoration needs.
  • Develop and communicate recommendations for landowners to maintain or restore environmental conditions.
  • Plan environmental restoration projects, using biological databases, environmental strategies, and planning software.
  • Communicate findings of environmental studies or proposals for environmental remediation to other restoration professionals.
  • Conduct site assessments to certify a habitat or to ascertain environmental damage or restoration needs.

Soil and Water Conservationists plan or develop coordinated practices for soil erosion control, soil or water conservation, or sound land use.

Tasks typically include:

  • Implement soil or water management techniques, such as nutrient management, erosion control, buffers, or filter strips, in accordance with conservation plans.
  • Monitor projects during or after construction to ensure projects conform to design specifications.
  • Visit areas affected by erosion problems to identify causes or determine solutions.
  • Advise land users, such as farmers or ranchers, on plans, problems, or alternative conservation solutions.
  • Develop or maintain working relationships with local government staff or board members.

Water or Wastewater Engineers design or oversee projects involving provision of potable water, disposal of wastewater and sewage, or prevention of flood-related damage.

They also prepare environmental documentation for water resources, regulatory program compliance, data management and analysis, and field work.

Other tasks include hydraulic modeling and pipeline design.

How to Become an Environmental Engineer

Most Enviro Eng positions require a bare minimum of a bachelor’s degree in environmental, civil, or chemical engineering.

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Many private firms hire Enviro Engineers as part of graduate programs, but this process can be extremely competitive. Therefore, many students elect to undertake internships during their third or fourth year of study, to gain additional experience.

Pursuing a graduate degree like a Masters or PhD can open up different opportunities for graduates, including academia, or research and development positions for governmental or private institutions.

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Environmental Engineering provides you with the following valuable skills

Chemistry, Biology & Soil Science 80%
Creativity & Problem Solving 90%
Data Interpretation & Analysis 70%
Environmental Management 90%
Land & Water Management 85%
Model & Analyse Environmental Impact of Engineering Solutions 100%
Renewable Energy & Technologies 95%
Sustainable Development 100%
Waste Management 90%

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This page includes information from O*NET OnLine by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license. O*NET® is a trademark of USDOL/ETA.