What Does an Environmental Engineer do?

Environmental engineers are responsible for helping protect, maintain, and solve issues related to the environment. They do this by using their mathematical and scientific background to tackle issues and produce practical and socially useful benefits for the environment.

Things that an Environmental Engineers may do everyday:
  • Collaborating with others in related field (E.g. Environmentalists, Industrial Waste Technicians).
  • Performing tests to industrial and municipal facilities to ensure efficiency.
  • Making sure all operations fall within environmental regulations.
  • Designing and developing different systems(E.g. Waste Systems).
  • Designing and developing environmentally friendly equipment


Engineers in this field have many different options in where they want to work in. Some may work on the operation of water filtration or sewage treatment by designing, constructing, and doing maintenance for the different parts. Others may choose to research the collection, treatment, and disposal of solid waste or analyze the potential risks and impacts of government or private sector projects. Many could even work in areas of flood and erosion control, air quality control, as well as recycling management.

 Their Work Environment

 Environmental engineers work 8 to 10 hours a day and about 40 to 50 hours a week. Many work for government or for companies to help deal with possible chemical issues (e.g. spills, leaks, etc.). The places that they usually work in include company/ government offices, factories, outdoors (e.g. pipelines, resource extraction), and sometimes dangerous environments. The majority of environmental engineers work for architectural and engineering firms followed by government occupations.

Wages and Salary Range

 An environmental engineer can make anywhere from $40,000 to $120,000 a year or more. Their salary range depends on experience, education, as well as their employer. They usually receive many job benefits such as paid sick days and vacation time, dental care, and pension plans. Benefits may vary from different employers but senior engineers sometimes receive performance bonuses as well. According to Dawn McKay, the median salary in the USA in 2009 was $77,040.


 Interesting Facts & Statistics

  •  It is predicted that this career will experience faster growth than most occupations that require at least a bachelor's degree in 2018.
  • At least 54,000 people were employed as environmental engineers in 2008.
  • Budget and political issues often limit the goals of environmental engineers.
  • Engineers MUST be able to accept compromises and BE REALISTIC!


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