Careers in Environmental Engineering
Who are environmental engineers?
In their work to protect the environment and human health in a sustainable way, environmental engineers play many roles. The following is a glimpse of what environmental engineering students do at the University of Texas at Austin:
- evaluate removal of pharmaceuticals and personal care products from water
- design nanomaterials for treatment applications and assess their environmental impact
- model the impact of extreme events such as floods and droughts
- quantify human exposure to outdoor and indoor air pollutants
- design efficient propulsors to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from ships
- study energy use in the distribution and treatment of water (water-energy nexus)
- design turbines to extract the energy of ocean currents
- assess the impact of the flow of water and its contaminants in rivers and coastal systems
- design stormwater control facilities to improve surface water quality
- design treatment systems to improve the air we breathe indoors
- holistically evaluate “green” technologies via life-cycle assessment
- remediate soil and ground waters impacted by unintended pollutant releases
Where do environmental engineers work?
Environmental engineers work as private consultants who advise clients and design solutions for a myriad of environmental challenges; as industrial leaders who contribute to more sustainable corporations; as teachers and scholars at universities and national laboratories who are on the cutting-edge of environmental solutions; as problem-solvers in non-governmental organizations; as technical experts at legal firms; and as researchers and regulatory authorities at government agencies. Their work is multidisciplinary and often involves communicating with people of diverse backgrounds and interests.