What is Environmental Engineering?

Environmental EngineeringThe science, technology and engineering principles and activities that are used to protect the natural environment for the benefit of humans and the ecology is generally known as environmental engineering. Industrialization has brought the potential for great economic prosperity to nations, businesses and many individuals. However, the trade off for this monetary windfall has traditionally been an increase in environmental hazards that threaten current and future quality of life for the earth’s inhabitants. The field of environmental engineering has grown in part, because of the collective desire of many of the world’s citizens to reduce these hazards. Here are some examples of jobs that are often filled by environmental engineers.

Marine Environmental Resource Management

Protecting the world’s oceans, seas, lakes and rivers from contamination is a high priority since many people depend upon those bodies of water for food, and nearly everyone uses these resources for drinking water. Environmental engineers who have specialized training in marine biology, chemistry and regional environmental regulations can obtain jobs to study the cause and effect of human activity on specified water resources. Government and industry leaders can determine the business activities that pose the greatest threats to an area’s marine ecology through the efforts of environmental engineers. The results of their work and their technical expertise can also help government agencies and businesses to find the most eco-friendly ways of cleaning up environmental damage.

Oil and Gas Industry Environmental Consulting

Although environmental engineering is a fast growing field, there are jobs within the industry that typically pay more than others. For example, environmental engineers employed in the oil and gas industry are particularly recognized for obtaining well paid positions within the cash cow energy sector. Businesses operating in the oil and gas industry are deemed more of a risk to the surrounding environment because of the potential for oil spills and fire hazards. Also, damage to the earth’s land and sea surfaces caused by oil and gas extraction is one of the greatest environmental concerns to date, according to the Houston Chronicle. Environmental engineers with expert knowledge in the disciplines of geology, oceanography, biology, and chemistry can help cash rich oil and gas companies limit their risk of harming delicate ecologies and incurring subsequent fines.

Air Quality Environmental Management

Environmental engineers have the technical expertise to help private companies and government agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency to monitor air quality. The results of their work help to set new policies relating to cleaner air. Environmental engineers can also consult with industry businesses to determine ways to reduce air polluting activities while limiting losses to productivity.

Ecological Restoration Management

Scientists have only scratched the surface of the treasures contained in the world’s rainforests and other distinctive ecologies. While many environmental activists seek to slow down industrial development in these areas in favor of more scientific studies and treasure hunts, skilled environmental engineers are often called upon to help clean up areas with damaged ecosystems. These engineers work to restore environments back to their natural states. Once remote areas like the rainforests of South America or the wilderness lands in Alaska are often the locations of these jobs.

Related Resource: Natural Sciences Manager


Environmental engineers enjoy a wide variety of challenging job opportunities that allow them to use their analytical skills to promote the welfare of the earth’s inhabitants. The abundance of interesting job sites is another perk of career paths in the environmental engineering field.