Environmental Engineer

Cities as hubs of intensive economic activity use vast amounts of electricity and water, produce large volumes of waste and require efficient infrastructure for the movement of goods, services and people. With increasing urbanisation, creative housing solutions are also required to maximise land use while minimising environmental impact. Environmental engineering involves designing construction methods, processes and outputs that minimise impacts on the natural environment.

Environmental engineers manage the implementation, coordination, monitoring, evaluation and reporting of projects related to construction, environmental impact assessments, natural resource management and pollution control. They research proposed or existing construction projects to determine potential environmental risk and impact, report findings and advise on mitigation measures. These engineers are also involved in the design of improvements, additions or new sustainable facilities or processes and are responsible for obtaining the necessary permits and updating standard operating procedures.

Environmental engineers collaborate with environmental scientists, urban and town planners, hazardous waste technicians and other engineers and specialists. They work between offices and specific project sites overseeing development and ensuring compliance.

Skills

Environmental engineers require a comprehensive knowledge of engineering principles and environmental regulations, processes and challenges. They will further benefit from:

  • Ability to apply engineering science and design 
  • Logical analytical and problem-solving ability
  • Independent project management competence
  • Good written and verbal communication and presentation skills

Tasks

Conduct research, assess and report on environmental impacts

Design and oversee the development of systems, processes and equipment for control, management or remediation of environmental quality

Provide engineering and technical support for environmental remediation 

Report and advise on projects and procedures related to environmental impact

Studies

B.Sc. Eng. in Civil Engineering at UCT, UKZN and Wits

B.Eng. in Civil Engineering at SU, UJ and UP

Diploma, Advanced Diploma, M.Tech in Civil Engineering at CPUT, CUT, DUT, MUT, TUT, UNISA, VUT and WSU

Employers

National, provincial and local government.

Construction and mining organisations.

Waste management companies.

NGOs, community-based and development organisations and private consultancies.

Research institutions.

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