Environmental engineering addresses problems related to public health and the environment, including drinking water treatment and distribution systems; wastewater collection and treatment systems; solid waste disposal; air pollution; recycling and conservation methods; water reclamation and reuse; hazardous-waste management, containment, and site remediation; ecosystem protection and restoration; and sustainable systems. Environmental engineers also work on large-scale issues, such as acid rain, global warming, and ozone depletion.
Water resources engineering deals with the engineering aspects of hydrology and hydraulics as applied to water supply management, water excess management, and environmental protection and restoration. Water resources engineers focus on flood prevention; water supply for cities, industry, and agriculture; protection of beaches from erosion, management of rivers and estuaries; and habitat protection for aquatic species. Together, environmental and water resources engineering cover the quality and quantity aspects of water.
Undergraduates interested in a career in Environmental and Water Resources Engineering (EWRE) major in Civil Engineering. The University of Texas at Austin also offers graduate degree programs in EWRE. Graduate students can also specialize in Ocean Engineering, which addresses the design of off-shore and near-shore structures, design of high-speed ocean vehicles, and study of oceanic and coastal zone processes. The links on this page provide more information about this career path, programs of study, and research in Environmental and Water Resources Engineering.