Environmental engineering is the branch of engineering concerned with the application of scientific and engineering principles for protection of human populations from the effects of adverse environmental factors; protection of environments, both local and global, from potentially deleterious effects of natural and human activities; and improvement of environmental quality.
Environmental engineering can also be described as a branch of applied science and technology that addresses the issues of energy preservation, protection of assets and control of waste from human and animal activities. Furthermore, it is concerned with finding plausible solutions in the field of public health, such as waterborne diseases, implementing laws which promote adequate sanitation in urban, rural and recreational areas. It involves waste water management, air pollution control, recycling, waste disposal, radiation protection, industrial hygiene, animal agriculture, environmental sustainability, public health and environmental engineering law. It also includes studies on the environmental impact of proposed construction projects.
Environmental engineers study the effect of technological advances on the environment. To do so, they conduct studies on hazardous-waste management to evaluate the significance of such hazards, advise on treatment and containment, and develop regulations to prevent mishaps. Environmental engineers design municipal water supply and industrial wastewater treatment systems. They address local and worldwide environmental issues such as the effects of acid rain, global warming, ozone depletion, water pollution and air pollution from automobile exhausts and industrial sources.
At many universities environmental engineering programs are offered at either the department of civil engineering or the department of chemical engineering at engineering faculties. Environmental “civil” engineers focus on hydrology, water resources management, bioremediation, and water treatment plant design. Environmental “chemical” engineers, on the other hand, focus on environmental chemistry, advanced air and water treatment technologies and separation processes.