What Are The Duties Of An Environmental Engineer?

"Becoming an environmental engineer really appeals to me. I love engineering and everything to do with it, and I am really passionate about protecting the environment. I would love to combine my interests. I’m more interested in some aspects of environmental science than others, though. I want to start planning my career right away and taking the right courses in my freshman year. What are the different types of work that I could get into as an environmental engineer?"

asked by Dan from Green Bay, WI

As an environmental engineer, you will be able to bring together your love for science and engineering and your passion for conserving the ecology of the planet. As human beings on this planet, we build many different structures and use many different processes to harness energy, cleanse drinking water, grow food, and more. That’s why environmental engineers are needed in many different industries. Some may work in food processing or farming, others may work in irrigation or power supply.

What are some of the most common sub-fields of work within the greater field of environmental engineering? Here are some specific types of projects you might work on:

Wastewater treatment plants

Many facilities require the help of ecological engineers in making their plants more efficient and environmentally friendly and in complying with government regulations. As an environmental engineer, you can help a municipality to protect the local watershed and keep water clean and uncontaminated for human use and also for local wildlife.

Design of erosion control systems, as well as the evaluation of existing systems.

Erosion control systems are commonly used in agriculture as well as in construction zones. By designing these systems and helping companies to implement their use, you are protecting the environment from soil loss and water pollution.

Inspection of a wide variety of environmental solutions for regulatory compliance and general efficiency.

Environmental engineers are not only experts on engineering and ecological science, but also on legal issues. You might choose to specialize in a particular area of compliance. By speaking the language of the law to the letter, you can assist others with making sure they are meeting all their legal obligations concerning environmental health and safety.

Monitoring of air emissions by factories and other processes.

Control and reduction of air pollution is more important than ever nowadays with so many industrial processes spewing dangerous emissions into the air which harm the ozone layer.

Animal housing design.

Environmental engineers may also assist with livestock housing design in agriculture and ensuring that requirements for space, temperature, and more are met.

Those are just a few examples of the numerous exciting areas of work which are open to environmental engineers. Becoming an environmental engineer allows you to work in many different industries, and opens up many diverse opportunities. No matter what aspect of the ecology you are interested in, you are sure to find an exciting career path to embark on as an environmental engineer.

Career Spotlight: Environmental Engineer

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