Environmental Protection Engineering

Environmental protection Engineering (EPE) is a branch of engineering discipline that includes scientific topics like biology, ecology, chemistry, geology, hydrology, microbiology, hydraulics, chemistry and mathematics to find solutions that will improve and protect the health of the living organisms. This Engineering is also involved in enhancing the balance of the ecosystem that is damaged due to different types of pollution. Environmental Protection Engineering is a sub-branch of chemical, mechanical and civil engineering.

EPE is an application of engineering and scientific values to maintain and improve the environment for the protection of human health, ecosystem of nature and development in human life quality. Wastewater management, control of air and water pollution, waste disposal, recycling, and public health are devised by the environmental protection engineers. They prepare solutions and designs for the wastewater treatment system in the industry, water supply in the municipality, and improve sanitization in the rural and urban areas. Other than this, environmental protection engineer executes plans to prevent the spread of waterborne diseases, evaluate any disastrous system for waste management, the severity of any particular hazard, offer consultation on containment and treatments, and develop necessary steps to control the mishaps.

The engineers employ environmental protection engineering law to assess the impact of the environment on a proposed project. Environmental protection engineering includes a study of the technological advance effects on the environment and addressing the world and local environmental issues like global warming, acid rain, ozone depletion, and water and air pollution. The environmental protection engineers need proper registration and license from the authorities to perform in the real world.

Environmental Engineering

History of Environmental Protection Engineering

Since the early civilizations, people have learned to control and modify the adverse conditions in the environment through environmental protection engineering. People have realized the importance of health, environment, and the requirement of a proper system to improve both of them. There is evidence of advanced water control systems like public baths, wells, water storage tanks, drinking water system and sewage systems across the city in the Indus Valley Civilization.

Modern Environmental protection engineering began in the 19th century in London when the first sewage system was designed by Joseph Bazalgette. Before this most of the raw sewage was disposed into the Thames from where most of the drinking water is supplied throughout London, resulting in the outbreak of Cholera. After World War II, another example of environmental engineering is the spreading of the pesticide DDT to control agricultural pests.

Read our Featured Guide on – What is environmental protection?

How to Study Environmental Protection Engineering?

Many leading universities offer environmental protection engineering courses through chemical or civil engineering by including electronic projects to balance and develop environmental conditions. Environmental Protection engineers in civil section study management of water resources, hydrology, bioremediation, and design of wastewater and water treatment plants. Environmental protection engineers in the chemical engineering section tend to focus on advanced technologies for the treatment of water and air, separation processes, and environmental chemistry. There are other sub-branches of EPE like agriculture and natural resources engineering. The courses of Environmental protection engineering are classified into 4 broad categories as:

  1. Mechanical Engineering involves designing the machines and mechanical systems for environmental usages like facilities for wastewater and water treatment, garbage segregation plants, and pumping stations.
  2. Environmental or sustainable chemistry involves the study of chemicals in the environment, mining and biochemical processes, and pollutants.
  3. Environmental engineering systems include the blending of civil engineering along with landscape and structures that are to be constructed for the protection of the environment.
  4. Environmental Technology includes the development of the artifacts and devices to monitor, model, measure, and control the environmental impact, and manage and monitoring of generation of energy from renewable sources.

Applications of Environmental Protection Engineering

Environmental protection Engineering can be implemented in several industries. The applications are as follows.

Water Treatment and Supply: Environmental protection engineers evaluate the balance of the water in the watershed. The engineers develop systems for treating, storing and conveying the water in the different parts of the watershed. They also design the water distribution systems to supply accurate pressure of the water and flow rates to meet the demand of the users for domestic use, irrigation and suppression of fire.

Management of Air Pollution: Development of air dispersion models, evaluation of the concentration of the pollutant, the impact of the air quality from the vehicle, emissions of fuel gas stack in the industry are the jobs of an environmental protection engineer. This field also targets decreasing the level of carbon dioxide and the emission of greenhouse gasses due to combustion processes.

Treatment of wastewater : Environmental Protection engineers are responsible for the design and development of the technologies for wastewater treatment. The treatment consists of the 4 segments which are:

  • Primary clarifier system to eliminate the floating and solid materials
  • A secondary system that consists of aeration basin terminates the organic materials by growing bacteria and activated sludge
  • Secondary clarifier eliminates the activated sludge from the water
  • A tertiary system that removes the nitrogen and phosphorus and disinfects the water before discharging it to the surface or ocean.

Improvement of the Assessment of the Environmental Impacts

Environmental protection engineering involves the study of the impact of environmental pollutants, development of measures to lessen or prevent such impacts. An example of such mitigation measures is the wetland creation in the nearby location to mitigate the filling of wetlands for the development of the roads.


Environmental Protection Engineering is an important component of science to protect and improve the quality of the environment to prevent the consequences of undesirable effects. EPE implements engineering as well as scientific principles to evaluate the unfavorable impacts of water and air pollution, traffic, noise, and ecology. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) is one of the topmost agencies that hire environmental protection engineers to solve the key environmental issues.

For more further detailed information, read our guides on the related topics –

  1. How to become an environmental protection officer?
  2. What are environmental protection policies?