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What’s an Environmental Engineer?

Environmental Engineers use the principles of engineering, soil science, biology, chemistry and math to develop solutions to environmental problems.  Using their expertise, an Environmental Engineer works to prevent, control or remediate any hazard to the environment such as mining, oil drilling, green house gasses, etc. 

Their work might start with making sure water and air remain clean and protecting the earth and sea. Environmental engineers study reducing pollution, protecting public health, and with problems caused by global warming. There are many challenges to be met by Environmental Engineers.

Environmental Engineers will learn how to select materials that are the most environmentally sound for the safe completion of a job. That means that they may have to suggest materials that are not at risk of depletion or selecting a building site that is not a nesting place for endangered species, for example.

With pollution, acid rain and the ever changing weather from global warming we will need more Environmental Engineers for many years to come.  Environmental Engineers will be working with years of unsustainable practices that will make their job tougher to predict.  Companies will have to enact policies that work to protect the environment and its available resources.

The Environmental Engineers of today and the future will be needed desperately.  Are you interested in becoming one?  How would you know.  Well, an Environmental Engineer likes searching for creative solutions to big problems.  They have a drive to protect people and the environment.  They like working outdoors with plants, animals, and and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. They understand math and science but really like to see it practically like collecting data and using it in designs.  Of course you need the willingness to do the job right (that’s pretty much every job).

Perhaps you’d like to meet Daria Delparic, a recent graduate in Environmental Engineering at Iowa State.

How about and interview with Sydney Roy, another Environmental Engineer who graduated who graduated from the joint Environmental Engineering program by UBC (University of British Columbia) and UNBC (University of Northern British Columbia) and is working in her field.

Ted Talk by  Ursula Salmon

Ursula is working towards “creating an army”, particularly around environmental water quality and quantity. After a Chemical Engineering undergrad exchange to Sweden, Ursula stayed on to do a PhD on the environmental impact of mining (where her father worked), and has worked on environmental systems ever since. Projects have included the drought-driven acidification of coastal lakes, how “new” lakes will evolve, and how reactions in soils can impact groundwater and buried infrastructure. Her Fulbright project involved modelling environmental isotopes (e.g., 14C) in groundwater, including the effect of sea level change by ~120m over the last 40,000 y, to assess paleoclimate and improve water resource management tools.

This is a good website for extra resources and at the bottom of the page is a “delicious” experiment exploring aquifers.


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