Forest, Guinea

Environmental engineers work with the natural environment, trying to provide healthy water, air, and land for animals and humankind alike.
Environmental Engineers work to make sure pollutants are not released into to the air or water sources and that solid waste is properly disposed. Some environmental engineers devise and build equipment to create a cleaner environment. Others work in management, developing environmental protection plans.

Environmental engineers use the principles of engineering, soil science, biology, and chemistry to develop solutions to environmental problems. They are involved in efforts to improve recycling, waste disposal, public health, and control of water and air pollution.

Environmental engineering is the integration of science and engineering principles to improve the natural environment (air, water, and/or land resources), to provide healthy water, air, and land for human habitation (house or home) and for other organisms, and to remediate pollution sites. It is concerned with finding solutions for problems in public health, adequate sanitation, waste water management and air pollution control, recycling, waste disposal, radiation protection, industrial hygiene, environmental sustainability. It also includes studies on the environmental impact of proposed construction projects.


  • Hydraulic engineering – a sub-discipline of civil engineering is concerned with the flow and conveyance of fluids, principally water and sewage. One feature of these systems is the extensive use of gravity as the motive force to cause the movement of the fluids. This area of civil engineering is intimately related to the design of bridges, dams, channels, canals, and levees, and to both sanitary and environmental engineering.
  • Antrix Corp./ISRO: Sujala Project (video 2:36)- India – More than two-thirds of India’s Karnataka state is drought-prone, resulting in low productivity, degraded natural resources, and poverty. Watershed development through biophysical, technological, and social interventions improve rural socio-economic conditions and productivity of drylands. 1270 villages, 0.35 million households, 12.8 million acres. As one of the The Tech Awards 2013 Laureates this project has been recognized as providing an innovative solution to a problem with significant social impact.


  • Float Beijing – citizens monitor their local aerial environment themselves, using flying kites equipped with air quality sensors. Using a combination of DIY electronics workshops and group kite-flights, residents became actively engaged in the process of air quality monitoring. The modules use Arduino and are relatively easy to put together: the LEDs on the hand-built kites are programmed to indicate air quality with different colors; green being the best and pink being the worst. Data is interactively mapped in real-time using geolocation; the idea is to light up the sky with a squad of sensor kites that will give a general sense of how good or bad the air pollution is — and to collect and parse the data in one place.

Meet the people in Environmental Engineering

  • Daniele teaches people around the world how to make their drinking water safe.

That’s engineering

  • watershed – Dividing landforms, such as ridges, between two river systems. Can also be water basins draining to a defined point.

Engineering ideas

  • sensors, air quality monitoring, biophysical intervention

Do it
Here are some challenges for you to work on…

  • Alaska Pipeline – Examine sections of Alaskan terrain and choose the pipeline strategy that works best for each.
  • Working Together to Live Together – experience civil and environmental engineering by planning a housing development while also protecting the native species that live there. Conduct research, draw plans, make brochures, and give presentations, with each four-member team having a project manager, civil engineer, environmental engineer, and graphic designer. The best designs creatively balance the needs and resources needed to support both the native species and human infrastructure.

Learn more…