Environmental engineering: APPLICATIONS
Briefly speaking, the main task of environmental engineers is to protect public health by protecting (from further degradation), preserving (the present condition of), and enhancing the environment. Environmental engineering is the application of science and engineering principles to the environment. Some consider environmental engineering to include the development of sustainable processes. There are several divisions of the field of environmental engineering.
Environmental impact assessment and mitigation
In this division, engineers and scientists use a systemic identification and evaluation process to assess the potential impacts of a proposed project , plans, programs, policies, or legislative actions upon the physical-chemical, biological, cultural, and socioeconomic components on environmental conditions.They apply scientific and engineering principles to evaluate if there are likely to be any adverse impacts to water quality, air quality, habitat quality, flora and fauna, agricultural capacity, traffic impacts, social impacts, ecological impacts, noise impacts, visual (landscape) impacts, etc. If impacts are expected, they then develop mitigation measures to limit or prevent such impacts. An example of a mitigation measure would be the creation of wetlands in a nearby location to mitigate the filling in of wetlands necessary for a road development if it is not possible to reroute the road.
The practice of environmental assessment was intitiated on January 1, 1970, the effective date of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in the United States. Since that time, more than 100 developing and developed nations either have planned specific analogous laws or have adopted procedure used elsewhere. NEPA is applicable to all federal agencies in the United States.
Water supply and treatment
Engineers and scientists work to secure water supplies for potable and agricultural use. They evaluate the water balance within a watershed and determine the available water supply, the water needed for various needs in that watershed, the seasonal cycles of water movement through the watershed and they develop systems to store, treat, and convey water for various uses. Water is treated to achieve water quality objectives for the end uses. In the case of potable water supply, water is treated to minimize the risk of infectious disease transmission, the risk of non-infectious illness, and to create a palatable water flavor. Water distribution systems are designed and built to provide adequate water pressure and flow rates to meet various end-user needs such as domestic use, fire suppression, and irrigation.
Wastewater conveyance and treatment
Most urban and many rural areas no longer discharge human waste directly to the land through outhouse, septic, and/or honey bucket systems, but rather deposit such waste into water and convey it from households via sewer systems. Engineers and scientists develop collection and treatment systems to carry this waste material away from where people live and produce the waste and discharge it into the environment. In developed countries, substantial resources are applied to the treatment and detoxification of this waste before it is discharged into a river, lake, or ocean system. Developing nations are striving to obtain the resources to develop such systems so that they can improve water quality in their surface waters and reduce the risk of water-borne infectious disease.
Sewage treatment plant, Australia.
There are numerous wastewater treatment technologies. A wastewater treatment train can consist of a primary clarifier system to remove solid and floating materials, a secondary treatment system consisting of an aeration basin followed by flocculation and sedimentation or an activated sludge system and a secondary clarifier, a tertiary biological nitrogen removal system, and a final disinfection process. The aeration basin/activated sludge system removes organic material by growing bacteria (activated sludge). The secondary clarifier removes the activated sludge from the water. The tertiary system, although not always included due to costs, is becoming more prevalent to remove nitrogen and phosphorus and to disinfect the water before discharge to a surface water stream or ocean outfall.
Air quality management
Engineers apply scientific and engineering principles to the design of manufacturing and combustion processes to reduce air pollutant emissions to acceptable levels. Scrubbers, electrostatic precipitators, catalytic converters, and various other processes are utilized to remove particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, volatile organic compounds (VOC), reactive organic gases (ROG) and other air pollutants from flue gases and other sources prior to allowing their emission to the atmosphere.
Scientists have developed air pollution dispersion models to evaluate the concentration of a pollutant at a receptor or the impact on overall air quality from vehicle exhausts and industrial flue gas stack emissions. To some extent, this field overlaps the desire to decrease carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions from combustion processes.
1.Environmental policy and regulation development
Contaminated land management and site remediation
Environment, Health and Safety
Hazardous waste management
Natural resource management
Solid waste management
Public water supply system -Planning - Objectives
Water supply and sanitation in India continue to be inadequate, despite longstanding efforts by the various levels of government and communities at improving coverage. The level of investment in water and sanitation, albeit low by international standards, has increased during the 2000s. Access has also increased significantly. For example, in 1980 rural sanitation coverage was estimated at 1% and reached 21% in 2008.Also, the share of Indians with access to improved sources of water has increased significantly from 72% in 1990 to 88% in 2008. At the same time, local government institutions in charge of operating and maintaining the
infrastructure are seen as weak and lack the financial resources to carry out their functions. In addition, no major city in India is known to have a continuous water supply and an estimated 72% of Indians still lack access to improved sanitation facilities.
A number of innovative approaches to improve water supply and sanitation have been tested in India, in particular in the early 2000s. These include demand-driven approaches in rural water supply since 1999, community-led total sanitation, a public-private partnerships to improve the continuity of urban water supply in Karnataka, and the use of micro-credit to women in order to improve access to water
In 2008, 88% of the population in India had access to an improved water source, but only 31% had access to improved sanitation. In rural areas, where 72% of India's population lives, the
respective shares are 84% for water and only 21% for sanitation. In urban areas, 96% had access to an improved water source and 54% to improved sanitation. Access has improved substantially since 1990 when it was estimated to stand at 72% for water and 18% for sanitation.
According to Indian norms, access to improved water supply exists if at least 40 liters/capita/day of safe drinking water are provided within a distance of 1.6 km or 100 meter of elevation difference, to be relaxed as per field conditions. There should be at least one pump per 250 persons.
Water and sanitation service quality in India is generally poor, although there has been some limited progress concerning continuity of supply in urban areas and access to sanitation in rural areas.