Environmental Engineering Program


The graduate program in Environmental Engineering provides a core background in water chemistry, environmental biology, and process dynamics. Advanced course work in water and wastewater treatment, bioremediation, pollutants and risk, ground and surface water hydrology, and air pollution is available in Civil Engineering and other allied departments.

Environmental Engineering Research

Original research is a primary component of a graduate program. Current fundamental environmental research will serve as the basis for solving the problems faced by future generations. Practical engineering research is necessary to solve current environmental problems. The following are some of the research topics that Environmental Engineering students and faculty have explored in the last few years:

  • Airborne Transport of Pesticides
  • Biological Nutrient Removal
  • Bioremediation of Subsurface Contaminants
  • Fate of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals in Wastewater Treatment
  • Grass Swales for Treatment of Roadway Runoff
  • Pathogen Fate and Treatment in Bioretention
  • Suspended Solids Capture and Accumulation in Bioretention
  • Dissolution of Nonaqueous Phase Contaminants

Environmental Engineering research is conducted in four very well equipped, air-conditioned laboratories totaling approximately 3000 square feet.

Recent Thesis and Dissertation Titles

  • Characterization and Mobilization of Arsenic in Various Contaminated Materials
  • Design and Construction of Low Power, Portable Photocatalytic Water Treatment Unit using Light Emitting Diode
  • Effect of Terminal Electron Accepting Processes on Acetate Thresholds in Contaminated Sediments
  • The Fate and Behavior of Octyl- and Nonylphenol Ethoxylates and Their Derivatives in Three American Wastewater Treatment Plants and The Back River, Maryland
  • A Field Demonstration of a Quantitative Framework for Defining the Limits on In Situ Bioremediation
  • Field Evaluation of Hydrologic and Water Quality Benefits of Grass Swales for Managing Highway Runoff Field
  • Field Evaluation of Low Impact Development Practices for Treatment of Highway Runoff in an Ultra Urban Area
  • Subsurface Heterogeneities, Interfaces and Biodegradation: Defining the Limits on In Situ Bioremediation
  • The Use of Hatchery Residual Biosorbent for Removal of Heavy Metals from Wastewater

Course Requirements

For the Master of Science degree, three Core courses are required for all students:

  • ENCE 650 - Process Dynamics of Environmental Systems
  • ENCE 651 - Chemistry of Natural Waters
  • ENCE 637 - Biological Principles of Environmental Engineering

Additionally, three other courses should be selected from the list of environmental and water resources class below. The remaining 2 or 4 courses (depending on the degree option chosen, as described further below) are electives and must be approved by the student's advisor. More than three courses from the list below can be taken, with the extra used as electives. Course requirements for the Ph.D. degree are described below.

Environmental and Water Resources Graduate Courses

ENCE 623 Interpretation of Satellite Imagery for Regional Analysis
The concepts and approaches used in the computer-aided interpretation of digital format data collected by orbiting electro- magnetic scanner systems. Emphasis on the translation of computer compatible tapes from the Landsat series of satellites into information required for the analysis of land and water related problems on a regional scale.

ENCE 630 Environmental and Water Resource Systems I
Application of statistical and systems engineering techniques in the analysis of information necessary for the design or characterization of environmental or hydrologic processes; emphasis on the fundamental considerations that control the design of information collection programs, data interpretation, and the evolution of simulation models used to support the decision-making process.

ENCE 634 River Engineering
The application of fundamentals of hydrology and hydraulics to engineering analysis and design questions focused on rivers and the watersheds they drain. The course examines issues of flood and drought flows, sediment transport, and water quality. Emphasis is on developing an understanding of watershed behavior in the face of land use change --particularly urbanization.

ENCE 635 Geographic Information Systems for Watershed Analysis
Emphasis is on the use of GIS to support the analysis and modeling tasks associated with watershed planning and management. This course familiarizes the student with fundamentals of GIS data models, projections, and coordinate systems. Students develop a set of GIS- based alogrithms solving common engineering problems in hydrology. Internet data sources and GPS technology are also covered

ENCE 637 Biological Principles of Environmental Engineering
An examination of biological principles directly affecting man and his environment, with particular emphasis on microbiological interactions in environmental engineering related to air, water and land systems; microbiology and biochemistry of aerobic and anaerobic treatment processes for aqueous wastes.

ENCE 645 Geotechnics of Waste Disposal
Fundamental aspects of geotechnical engineering that apply to problems of waste containment and remediation, basic principles of containment systems, compacted clay liners and clay mineralogy, hydraulic conductivity of compacted soils, methods of laboratory and field hydraulic conductivity measurements, design of waste containment systems, landfill stability and settlement, geosynthetic liners, waste compatibility, contaminant transport through liners, leachate collection systems, gas collection systems, covers and caps.

ENCE 650 Process Dynamics in Environmental Systems
The fundamentals of heterogeneous equilibria, rates of environmental reactions, and flow and material transport or presented. Applications of these principles will be presented to small and large scale environmental problems involving liquid, gas, and solid phases. Both natural and engineered environmental systems will be examined.

ENCE 651 Chemistry of Natural Waters
Application of principles from chemical thermodynamics and kinetics to the study and interpretation of the chemical composition of natural waters is rationalized by considering metal ion solubility controls, pH, carbonate equilibria, adsorption reactions, redox reactions and the kinetics of oxygenation reactions which occur in natural water environments.

ENCE 655 Environmental Behavior of Organic Pollutants
Introduction to the scientific data needed and methods currently available to assess the environmental risk of organic chemicals. Applications of principles from chemical thermodynamics will be used to study phase-transfer processes of organic pollutants in the environment (solid/water, solid/air, water/air). Physical-chemical properties of organic pollutants will be used to estimate partitioning.

ENCE 730 Environmental and Water Resource Systems II
Advanced topics in operational research. Applications to complex environmental and water resource systems. The use of systems simulation and probabalistic modeling.

ENCE 745 Geoenvironmental Site Remediation
Analysis of various techniques for remediation of contaminated media, applicable regulations and methods of field reconnaissance, invasive and non-invasive methods of site characterization, geoenvironmental monitoring, vertical cut-off walls, caps, soil vapor extraction systems, air sparging, permeable reactive walls, electro-kinetic remediation, waste stabilization and solidification systems.

ENCE 752 Theory of Aqueous Waste Treatment
Theory and practical design of treating wastewater, hydraulics of plant, cost analysis. Biological oxidation of organics and biological nutrient removal are emphasized. Stabilization and disposal of biosolids will be discussed.

ENCE 753 Unit Operations of Environmental Engineering
The fundamental theory of unit operations in the physical, chemical, and biological treatment of water is considered in detail. Coagulation and flocculation, sedimentation, filtration, disinfection, ion exchange, adsorption, gas transfer, and membrane processes are among topics to be considered. Pollution prevention and waste minimization will be integrated into the course.

ENCE 755 Transformations of Organic Compounds in the Environment
Focuses on reaction kinetics and mechanisms of organic pollutants transformations. Kinetic principles will be used to calculate or estimate the pollutants' half-lives. Physical-chemical properties of organic pollutants will be used to estimate transformation mechanisms and rates. Emphasis is on developing an understanding of how physico-chemical and structural properties relate with the transformations of organic pollutants.

ENCE 756 Bioremediation
Introduction to microbiological and engineering fundamentals of bioremediation. Coverage will emphasize current and emerging technologies for major classes of environmental contaminants and contaminated site characteristics; relevant microbial ecology, biochemistry and physiology; site data needed to assess the feasibility of the bioremediation option; design and operation of engineered bioremediation systems, including reactor and in situ approaches; monitoring methods for evaluating the success of bioremediation projects; technical evaluation of selected case studies.

ENCE 757 Environmental Engineering Laboratory
Laboratory experiments to familiarize the student with selected unit operations and processes used in water and wastewater treatment; to gain "hands on" experience in the setup and operation of each experiment; to monitor laboratory parameters; and to analyze data and write a laboratory report.