Environmental Engineering is a multidisciplinary program involving the Faculties of Engineering, Science, and Environmental Studies. Within the Faculty of Engineering, the program involves the Departments of Chemical Engineering and Civil Engineering. The program is administered by the Environmental Engineering Board which consists of the Dean, the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies, faculty members from the above two departments, and representatives from the departments of Systems Design Engineering and Management Sciences, and from the Faculties of Science and Environmental Studies.
The two key foci of the Environmental Engineering Program are the following: the integration of environmental and ecological issues within the planning, design, operation and management of industrial and other technological processes; and the minimization, treatment, remediation and risk assessment aspects of the solid, liquid and gaseous wastes that are associated with living in a modern society. The Environmental Engineering Program has two divisions: a Chemical Engineering Branch and a Civil Engineering Branch. For the Chemical Engineering Branch, primary emphasis is on the first key focus, namely the planning, design, operation and management of industrial and other technological processes. For the Civil Engineering Branch, primary emphasis is on the second key focus, namely the minimization, treatment, remediation and risk assessment aspects of the solid, liquid and gaseous wastes. The 'branch approach' permits future extension to other branches of engineering as they apply to the environment, e.g. decision analysis, management, ergonomic issues, occupational health issues, and human factors issues; considerable expertise in these areas already exists in the departments of System Design Engineering and Management Sciences, both being departments within the Faculty of Engineering at Waterloo.
Students will apply to the two branches of the Environmental Engineering separately and, if accepted into one of the branches, will be directly registered in the appropriate program, either the Environmental Engineering Program (Chemical Engineering Branch) or the Environmental Engineering Program (Civil Engineering Branch). For the Environmental Engineering Program (Chemical Engineering Branch), the 'home' department will be the Chemical Engineering department; for the Environmental Engineering Program (Civil Engineering Branch), the 'home' department will be the Civil Engineering Department.
Chemical Engineering Branch (Control and Process Engineering Theme)
This branch of the Environmental Engineering Program is characterized by the strong and extensive process engineering component in the curriculum. With its unique process engineering focus, the program is a modern Environmental Engineering program whose graduates will be identifiably and favourably different from graduates of other undergraduate Environmental Engineering programs in Canada, and probably in North America.
In the long term, the most effective way to reduce environmental degradation and pollution is to stop it from occurring. It is essential to control and operate existing plants and processes so that materials which would degrade the air, water and soil are eliminated or contained. Incorporation of environmental principles and constraints at the planning and design stage for new plants and processes will result in more effective operation and control to minimize pollution. With their process engineering background, graduates from the Environmental Engineering Program (Chemical Engineering Branch) will be ideally suited to address these needs.
Clearly, there is much in common (as well as significant differences) in the education of students in this program and in the Chemical Engineering Program. Therefore, although the education and job markets for graduates in Chemical Engineering and Environmental Engineering are somewhat different, there nonetheless exists a significant overlap in the job markets for the two disciplines. A substantial number of Chemical Engineering graduates and students on co-op work terms work in environmentally-related areas. Although a Chemical Engineering degree, perhaps with the Environmental Engineering Option, is adequate for many of these jobs, for many other jobs, an Environmental Engineering curriculum provides a better mix of skills and knowledge. The Faculty believes that it can best serve society and carry out its mandate by offering both Chemical Engineering and Environmental Engineering degree programs.
Civil Engineering Branch (Waste Treatment and Management Theme, and Water and Soil Quality Theme)
This branch of the Environmental Engineering Program is characterized by two distinct areas, the first is in waste treatment and the second in pathways migration of chemicals in the environment. With the strong emphasis on the principles of pollutant transformation mechanisms within both waste treatment processes and the environment, the program provides depth, yet flexibility, to address a wide-ranging array of environmental engineering concerns.
All human activities result in some degree of impact on the environment; the environmental engineer must be sensitive to achieving a balance between economic development and environmental protection. For example, solid waste management is more than just waste disposal - it is waste generation, waste reduction, energy recovery, and disposal of the residual in an environmentally-acceptable manner. Improving water quality in rivers is more that just monitoring of pollutant levels; it must be translated into such features as watershed planning, reduction of pollutant discharges, and remediation of historical disposal practices. Historically, the client in many engineering tasks was the municipality or a governmental agency; now, in many respects, it is the public-at-large, the taxpayer. Environmental decision-making is becoming increasingly complex. With the depth and flexibility provided by the Waste Treatment and Management Theme, and the Water and Soil Quality Theme, the graduates from the Environmental Engineering Program (Civil Engineering Branch) will have the educational credentials to be important, contributing members to the resolution of theseJengineering problems.
The proposed program curriculum builds on many courses in the existing Civil Engineering curriculum particularly in the first two years. In the third and fourth years, the program includes a mix of environmentally-oriented courses from a number of departments within the university and new courses essential to the educational objectives associated with the Waste Treatment and Management Theme, and the Water and Soil Quality Theme.
The academic programs for the two branches of the Environmental Engineering Program are presented in the following table. Both the Chemical Engineering Branch and the Civil Engineering Branch will be stream 4 programs.
Chemical Engineering Branch
Control and Process Theme
Civil Engineering Branch
Waste Treatment and Management (WTM) Theme, and Water and Soil Quality (WSQ) Theme
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