What Does an Environmental Engineer Do?
Environmental engineers design systems and components to reduce the negative impact on the environment. They work on the challenges of pollution, waste management, air quality, and more. They conduct research on the environmental impact of projects, analyze data, and implement quality control checks to ensure environmental policies and standards are met. They use extensive knowledge of engineering principles, soil science, biology, and chemistry to create technically sound solutions to environmental problems. Some environmental engineers serve as technical advisors to ensure regulatory applicability.
An environmental engineer must have good collaboration skills as they work closely with scientists, planners, and other experts. They need good verbal and written communication skills to provide recommendations, write reports, and document plans and standard operating procedures. They need to be proficient in relevant analytical and compliance software such as SAS or Autocad, be able to see the big picture, and be familiar with all environmental rules, regulations, and best practices. Environmental engineers develop real environmental and ecological improvement in their cities, regions, and beyond.
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National Average Salary
Environmental engineer salaries vary by experience, industry, organization size, and geography. To explore salary ranges by local market, please visit our sister site zengig.com.
The average U.S. salary for an Environmental Engineer is:
Environmental Engineer Job Descriptions
When it comes to recruiting an environmental engineer, having the right job description can make a big difference. Here are some real world job descriptions you can use as templates for your next opening.
Environmental engineers collect environmental data and develop solutions to environmental problems, such as pollution, recycling, and public health issues. Environmental engineers must be critical thinkers, problem solvers, and have excellent interpersonal skills. [Your Company Name] is searching for an experienced environmental engineer to join our team. If you have experience utilizing the principles of engineering, soil science, biology, and chemistry to develop solutions to environmental problems and improve the quality of the environment, then please apply to our position as an environmental engineer, as it might be a perfect role for you.
Typical duties and responsibilities
- Provide expert engineering advice and recommendations on environmental issues
- Develop and implement plans of action to minimize negative environmental impact
- Organize and direct ecological site assessment
- Perform field tests and research, gathering all necessary information, data, and samples
- Determine and obtain necessary compliance permits
- Perform quality-control checks and ecological impact tests
- Present findings and recommendations to leadership
- Work as a liaison to EPA and other regulatory agencies
Education and experience
This position requires a bachelor’s degree in environmental, civil, or another related engineering field, preferably with coursework in biology, chemistry, mathematics, and water/air/soil sciences. Employers prefer candidates with licensure from the National Society of Professional Engineers.
Required skills and qualifications
- Possess up-to-date knowledge of federal, state, and local environmental regulations
- Expertise in CAD (computer-aided design) software
- Microsoft Office Suite proficient
- Strong critical-thinking and problem-solving skills
- Excellent time-management skills with the ability to effectively prioritize tasks
- Comfortable working in the field
- Strong teamwork skills
- Master’s in engineering or related field
- 2+ years working in the field as an environmental engineer
- Strong mathematical skills
- Bachelor’s degree in Engineering, Environmental Science, Geology, or Environmental-related discipline
- Relevant certifications, a plus: (e.g. CHMM, CSP, CIH, or PE Certification)
- Minimum 3 years Environmental Professional experience, preferably within heavy industry, preferably in foundry or metal
- Data Management & Organization skills
- Written and verbal communication skills, including comfort interfacing with management and regulatory agency personnel
- Analytical and problem-solving skills
- Willingness and ability to quickly learn the stie-specific environmental permit & regulatory requirements
Required knowledge, skills, abilities and responsibilities
- Diligently works to help ensure ABC Company operates in compliance with Federal, State, and Local environmental regulations
- Conducts internal environmental compliance inspection to proactively identify, assess, and control potential environmental skills
- Logs internal environmental compliance inspection results
- Communicates findings as required
- Leads and/or participates in incident investigations
- Identifies and resolves regulatory compliance issues
- Identifies and assists in root cause analysis and the formulation and implementation of corrective action to prevent re-occurrence
- Tracks environmental compliance related corrective actions to completion
- Maintains a thorough familiarity with Federal, State, and Local regulations as they pertain to: Air programs, Hazardous waste management, Hazardous material management, EPCRA, TSCA, Wastewater, Stormwater, OSHA general industry, and DOT requirements
- Prepares environmental compliance reports and/or reviews reports generated by consultants. Example reports Air Permit Compliance, Air Emissions Inventory, TRI & Hazardous Material Inventory, Greenhouse Gas Inventory, RCRA Waste Shipment Summaries, SWPPP, and SPCC performance review team summaries, etc.
- Oversees the packaging, storage, shipment, and disposal of waste materials and the recycling of beneficial reuse materials
- Schedules and oversees environmental consultant and lab work
- Periodic waste stream sampling and lab analysis for waste characterization and profiling, as well as Periodic Stack emissions testing
- Prepares environmental permit applications as needed
- Assists Director of EHS a key point-of-contact for meeting with regulators during compliance visits
- Assist EHS as needed
- Delivers training for managers and other employees on new regulations, and other required training
- Ability to climb stairs and/or ladders
- Ability to stand and walk 8-10 hours per day
- Ability to wear PPE, including, but not limited to, respirator, hard hat, safety glasses, and uniform.
- Capable of lifting heavy objects up to 50 pounds
- Must be available “on Call”, as needed
- Significant travel may be required
As part of our team, you will work on projects related to municipal water and wastewater treatment plants, including but not limited to major treatment plant expansions, regional water quality studies, and critical water reuse projects that will create sustainable and resilient water supplies for the world.
- Performing engineering work in various engineering fields (water and wastewater treatment infrastructure to include pipelines and pump stations, engineering services, construction management)
- Work on engineering designs, prepare reports, develop plans, prepare specifications, and cost estimates for various water and wastewater projects, permitting, and alternative analysis
- Perform hydraulic calculations needed to size and select project facilities
- Check performance and conformity with plans and specifications through submittal review, request for information responses, field inspection, and testing
- Perform tasks related to engineering services during construction including monitoring of construction schedule progress, review of contractor pay applications, and preparation of field change orders, design changes, or contract change orders
- Oversee completion of all necessary tasks for project close-out including start-up, commissioning, testing, operation, maintenance manual preparation, and client specific operation and maintenance manuals
- Assist with the preparation of technical memoranda, reports and electronic deliverables
- Data entry and analysis, participate in field activities such as site investigations, and pilot testing
- In-state travel may be required
- Bachelor’s degree in Civil or Environmental Engineering or related engineering field
- Minimum of six (6) years of infrastructure water/wastewater experience
- Registration as a Professional Engineer
- Strong verbal and written communication skills
- Ability to apply critical thinking to develop options and recommendations to solve technical problems
- Experience with the planning and design of infrastructure design and rehabilitation projects
- Ability to communicate effectively with clients and project team
- Proficiency in MS Word, Outlook, Excel, and PowerPoint
- Master’s degree in Civil or Environmental Engineering
- Proficiency in MS Project
- Experience with Geographical Information System (GIS) and/or hydraulic modeling software a plus
- Experience with Google Sketch-up a plus
- Field data collection (soil, sediment, groundwater, surface water, soil gas, indoor air sampling, and dust monitoring)
- Observe and document subcontractor activities which could include drilling (soil borings and monitoring well installation), excavation, remediation, surveying, etc.
- Observe and document site construction activities for environmental compliance
- Provide hands-on support during field exploration and testing
- Leveraging technology to support data management and visualization
- Conduct site assessments
- Interpret and communicate investigation findings
- Assist with writing technical reports, correspondence, notes, and memoranda
- Assist with the coordination of work with managers, clients, subcontractors
- Client interaction in a professional and field setting
- Travel to worksites primarily in (State) and (State) (field vehicles available)
Skills and attributes
- Ability to work in field and office settings
- Excellent verbal, written, and interpersonal communication skills
- Capability for multitasking, problem-solving, and working independently
- Excellent planning and organization skills (prioritization, attentional to detail, time management)
- Ability to perform under pressure and within established deadlines
- Reliable, self-motivated, and team player
- Ability to work in the field in a variety of climates year-round without restrictions
- BS or MS in Environmental or Civil Engineering
- 0-3 years of professional engineering/environmental consulting experience, whether through coursework or professional experience
- On track to obtain professional licensure (EIT, PE, as applicable)
- OSHA 40 hr. HAZWOPER certification and annual refresher certifications preferred
- Must have a valid driver license
Candidate Certifications to Look For
- Board Certified Environmental Engineer (BCEE). The American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists certifies professional engineers who have been recommended by peers in their field of specialty. Candidates must possess good moral character, have a degree in environmental engineering or related engineering field, have a Professional Engineering (PE) license, and must have at least 8 years of related experience as an environmental engineer. Candidates must also pass a written exam.
- Professional Engineer (PE) License. The National Society of Professional Engineers certifies those candidates who possess the knowledge and skills required to be professional engineers. The PE is awarded to those professionals who have proven their competence and highest quality standards. To become certified, candidates must have completed a four-year college degree from an accredited engineering program, have at least four years of work experience under a professional engineer, and earn a passing grade on the Principles and Practice of Engineering exam. Environmental engineers who service the public must be licensed as PEs.
Sample Interview Questions
- Describe your approach to solving a complex environmental problem.
- Can you tell me about your experience with environmental regulations and permitting?
- Is there a time when you had to balance the needs of your client with the needs of the environment? What did you do?
- Would you be able to tell me about a particularly challenging project you worked on and how you overcame obstacles in order to succeed?
- What is the best way to collaborate with other environmental professionals like geologists, hydrologists, and chemists?
- Is there a time when you identified an environmental problem and came up with a creative solution?
- How do you assess and mitigate environmental impacts?
- What strategies do you use to ensure multiple environmental projects are completed on time and within budget?