Environmental engineers minimize our impact on the local, regional and global environment and improve our standard of living. They face unique issues and must have a strong background in the fundamental earth sciences. As problem solvers for something as diverse as “the environment,” they also need to understand the most current technologies and have a desire to maintain a high level of learning in this rapidly evolving field.
Environmental Engineers can specialize in areas such as drinking water and wastewater treatment. Turning water from rivers, lakes and even seas into drinking water is a unique skill and takes great understanding as each water source offers distinctive challenges.
Air pollution has also become a great concern on scales ranging from the global atmosphere to the indoor environment. From a fundamental understanding of the chemistry and dynamics of air pollution, students learn how human activities degrade air quality and also how to evaluate and design control technology to reduce emissions from industry and other sources.
The recent push for sustainable infrastructure in terms of energy and environment is yet another challenge environmental engineers will have the opportunity to address in their careers. Also, the correlation between toxic elements in the soil and how they relate to food safety is another upcoming area to be studied.
Environmental engineers may work on project teams with health care professionals, city planners, developers and all types of engineers.