Smythe Consulting, LLC.

Environmental Engineering

Environmental engineers are scientists and engineers dedicated to protecting the environment and solving environmental problems.

The environmental engineering profession applies the principles of chemistry, physics, mathematics, and engineering to pollution and contamination issues, whether they are found in commercial, industrial manufacturing activities, in municipal water and sewerage, or in community settings. Environmental engineers are multi-disciplined, understanding the chemical nature of contamination: its dangers, how to assess and define the nature and extent of the problem; employing drilling, sampling, measurements of air, water and waste quality; proposing solutions for control and prevention of pollution activities; as well as how investigations and solutions fit within the complex regulatory structure of federal, state and local programs. Being able to place environmental problems in perspective through risk assessments, for both the client, the regulators, and the public, often fosters confidence and the ability to work toward goals with common purpose.

Since enactment of the Water Pollution Control Act of 1972, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1980, CERCLA (otherwise known as "Superfund") in 1980, the Clean Air Act of 1970, our environment has become cleaner and healthier. In the latest assessment of environmental conditions across the United States, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency says that key indicators of our surface water quality, such as acidity and macroinvertebrate disturbance, have decreased as the pollutant load discharged to rivers and streams has decreased. "Nationwide, emissions of criteria pollutants (or the pollutants that form them) due to human activities have decreased."¹ This marks a steady improvement of air quality since enactment of the Clean Air Act of 1970. Likewise, the volume of hazardous wastes has declined significantly [over 22% in the period from 1999 to 2005] and the quantity of solid wastes disposed in landfills has decreased almost 40%, as recycling and pollution prevention activities have gained in popularity and importance. Environmental engineers have played a key role in the advances in improved environmental quality for all of us.

¹EPA's 2008 Report On the Environment: Highlights Of National Trends," U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, p. 5.