Environmental engineering is the branch of engineering that is concerned with protecting people from the effects of adverse environmental effects, such as pollution, as well as improving environmental quality. Environmental engineers work to improve recycling, waste disposal, public health, and water and air pollution control,
The practice of environmental engineering dates back to the dawn of civilization. Ever since groups of people began living in semi-permanent settlements, they have had to deal with the challenges of providing clean water and disposing of solid waste and sewage. With the growth of cities and the advent of large-scale farming and manufacturing, people have also had to worry about air quality and soil contamination.
One of the most important responsibilities of environmental engineering is to prevent the release of harmful chemical and biological contaminants into the air, water and soil.
Another important function performed by environmental engineers is detecting the presence of pollutants and tracking them back to their source.
Critical skills needed by environmental engineers include a working knowledge of chemical engineering, fluid dynamics, geography, geology and hydrology. Also, because of the numerous legal issues involved and the prevalence of litigation in environmental issues, environmental engineers must be familiar with applicable laws, and many of them are also practicing attorneys.
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