Wastewater engineering, also commonly referred to as sanitary engineering, involves the use of mechanical, biological, and chemical operations to achieve and maintain excellent water quality on a daily basis. Wastewater engineers play a pivotal role in our society, for their rigorous testing allows us to always have pure and clean water to drink and use within our homes and businesses. While there’s a specific concentration in the transportation and cleaning of irrigation water, blackwater, and greywater, the role of a wastewater engineer is quite diverse.

Education Requirements

Since there’s only a limited number of schools that offer degrees specifically in wastewater engineering, many wastewater engineers will receive degrees in civil engineering, environmental engineering, chemical engineering, and even bio-chemical engineering. All high-authority wastewater engineering companies will only consider those who’ve received their bachelor’s degree in the respective engineering program. Many times, a master’s degree is required for those who want to attain a higher position–i.e. a wastewater investigator. While degrees in environmental, chemical, and bio-chemical engineering are common amongst workers in the wastewater engineering industry, a vast majority of wastewater engineers have their degree in civil engineering. Additionally, some states will require wastewater engineers to obtain a certificate and license through the state’s board of civil engineering via the American Society of Civil Engineers.

The Roles of a Wastewater Engineer

A wastewater engineer’s nature of work revolves around the design and management of water supply construction, water treatment processes, and sewage systems. However, their work can be much more versatile. For example, a wastewater engineer could specialize in providing solutions to protect towns from the dangers of flooding. A wastewater engineer may also be in charge of finding ideal areas to construct a municipal water treatment facility. On a more creative level, some wastewater engineers actually help to design water parks that exude fun and excitement and have pinnacle water conservation practices. Other roles of a wastewater engineer include:

  • Design water storage tanks or facilities.
  • Design pumping stations, systems, pipelines, and sewers for wastewater.
  • Analyze storm water and floodplain drainage systems.
  • Design domestic, industrial, and wastewater treatment plants.
  • Conduct water-quality studies.
  • Design a variety of plans for the development of new water resources.
  • Design water runoff connection systems.

The list of roles and responsibilities continues on! To excel as a wastewater engineer, one must have an eye for detail, creativity, and innovation. By maintaining the water supply within the United States, wastewater engineers play a very crucial role in our society.