Environmental Engineers - Career, Salary and Education Information
Environmental engineers typically do the following:
Prepare, review, and update environmental investigation reports
Design projects leading to environmental protection, such as water reclamation facilities, air pollution control systems, and operations that convert waste to energy
Obtain, update, and maintain plans, permits, and standard operating procedures
Provide technical support for environmental remediation projects and for legal actions
Analyze scientific data and do quality-control checks
Monitor the progress of environmental improvement programs
Inspect industrial and municipal facilities and programs to ensure compliance with environmental regulations
Advise corporations and government agencies about procedures for cleaning up contaminated sites
Environmental engineers conduct hazardous-waste management studies in which they evaluate the significance of the hazard and advise on treating and containing it. They also design systems for municipal and industrial water supplies and industrial wastewater treatment, and research the environmental impact of proposed construction projects. Environmental engineers in government develop regulations to prevent mishaps.
Some environmental engineers study ways to minimize the effects of acid rain, global warming, automobile emissions, and ozone depletion. They also collaborate with environmental scientists, planners, hazardous waste technicians, engineers, and other specialists, such as experts in law and business, to address environmental problems and environmental sustainability.
Imagination.Environmental engineers sometimes have to design systems that will be part of larger ones. They must be able to foresee how the proposed designs will interact with other components of the larger system, including the workers, machinery, and equipment, as well as the environment.
Interpersonal skills.Environmental engineers must be able to work with others toward a common goal. They usually work with engineers and scientists who design other systems and with the technicians and mechanics who put the designs into practice.
Problem-solving skills.When designing facilities and processes, environmental engineers strive to solve several issues at once, from workers' safety to environmental protection. They must be able to identify and anticipate problems in order to prevent losses for their employers, safeguard workers' health, and mitigate environmental damage.
Reading skills.Environmental engineers often work with business people, lawyers, and other professionals outside their field. They frequently are required to read and understand documents with topics outside their scope of training.
Writing skills.Environmental engineers must be able to write clearly so that others without their specific training can understand their plans, proposals, specifications, findings, and other documents.