Environmental engineering is about identifying environmental problems and creatively developing effective solutions to them.
These include the environmental impacts of engineering activities, pollution and climate change, as well as addressing our current and future drinking water and energy needs, urban redevelopment and community planning. There are as many avenues of environmental engineering as there are issues affecting a community’s quality of life.
Environmental engineering combines aspects of civil engineering such as systems design, water, geotechnical and transport engineering, with aspects of chemical engineering, applied and biological sciences and environmental studies.

Different fields

There are many fields within environmental engineering, some of them are listed here:

Sustainable engineering

Sustainable engineering takes environmental engineering concepts to the next level by looking at the interactions between technical, ecological, social and economic systems and by avoiding shifting problems from one area to the other.
Sustainability means living well within the ecological limits of a finite planet. More than ever, engineers need to find holistic and effective solutions to protect our vital life support systems and, at the same time, meet the needs of a growing human population.

Concepts such as life cycle thinking, industrial ecology and sustainable systems engineering are important elements in the education and work practice of a sustainable engineer.

As an environmental engineer specialized in sustainability, you
a) gain a profound understanding of the holistic principles of industrial ecology, resource efficiency, eco-design, risk management and sustainable consumption and production
b) understand environmental and sustainability frameworks on corporate and regional sustainable development
c) have expert knowledge in sustainability assessment methods and tools, such as life cycle assessment, material flow analysis, environmental footprint and input-output analysis
d) work on solutions for problems that matter: climate change, water availability, energy futures, waste management and low-carbon living, etc.

Transport engineering

Transport engineers plan, design and operate the large public and private infrastructure systems that connect our physical world.

We need a broad range of continually evolving, large-scale transport infrastructure, including road, rail, air and water. Transport engineers quantify and optimize our mobility infrastructure networks to meet travel and freight demands, while ensuring safety, equity and sustainability, at minimal levels of congestion and cost.

Transport engineering has always been one of the essential civil engineering disciplines, impacting roadways, bridges, transit stations, airports and sea ports etc. Transport engineering has now developed into a multidisciplinary field spanning economics, politics, sociology and psychology, in addition to its core mathematical, engineering and computational principles.

Transport planning
Transport planning involves developing mathematical techniques for:

a) forecasting travel demand and planning to accommodate growth in demand
b) determining improvements to the transport infrastructure
c) reducing emissions
d) reducing energy use.

Computational transport planning uses mathematical methods to predict, represent and quantify:

a) the evolution of land use in cities
b) travel attributes such as trip purpose
c) travel decisions, including mode choice.

Planning models then examine the feasibility of projects and policies through cost-benefit and scenario analysis.

Transport design
Transport engineers face multi-faceted design decisions when they are designing optimized transport infrastructure networks. These might relate to:

a) the physical expansion of transport facilities, such as lane width or the number of lanes, for a roadway
b) the materials and thickness used in pavements
c) the geometry of a facility, such as a roadway, rail line or airport
d) road pricing schemes
e) deploying information-based technology.

In all design decisions, multiple performance measures, cost metrics and safety criteria must be considered and weighed.

Transport operations
Transport operations, whether for road, rail, port or air traffic, are designed to minimize travel delays, improve safety, reduce emissions and enhance reliability, as well as taking other considerations into account.

Transport operation decisions involve:

a) optimizing traffic signals
b) setting specific tolls
c) designing traffic signs and markings.

With the development of new Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), transport engineers use tools including advanced traveler information systems (such as variable message signs), advanced traffic control systems (such as ramp meters) and vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications to optimize the performance of the transport system.

Water engineering

Water engineering is about how water interacts with all aspects of the built and natural environments.
Water engineering looks at the way that natural systems such as rivers, estuaries and the coasts behave, as well as designing infrastructure to store and direct water.
Water engineering is concerned with:

a) water needs in different parts of Africa – this includes drinking water, water for industry and agriculture and, importantly, water for the natural environment.
b) flooding – one of the most costly natural disasters for Africa and around the world.
c) groundwater – water that lies in underground aquifers and deep in the soil.
d) coastal water behavior – what happens when rivers meet the sea, and when the sea meets the land.
e) water quality requirements.

As a company we are finding innovative methods and sustainable solutions to the threats that are facing the environment. The Environmental program has its roots in the natural, technological and social sciences. We will gain insight into the socio-economic causes and the characteristics of pollution and degradation of the natural environment, including the effects on human beings, the atmosphere, ecosystems and other organisms. This program is based on an interdisciplinary approach. We teach local people to develop analytical tools and models, as well as technologies, socio-political arrangements and economic instruments to prevent and control environmental and sustainability issues.