Environmental Engineer How to Hire, Salary Data, and Job Descriptions

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.

Sample job description #1

Basic qualifications

  • 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

Requirements

  • 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

Sample job description #2

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.

Responsibilities

  • 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

Qualifications

  • 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

Preferred qualifications

  • 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

Sample job description #3

Responsibilities

  • 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

Qualifications

  • 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

Average salary and compensation

The average salary for an environmental engineer is $85,000 in the United States. Position salary will vary based on experience, education, company size, industry, and market.

LocationSalary LowSalary High
Phoenix, Arizona$84,500$114,350
Los Angeles, California$95,350$129,000
Denver, Colorado$79,450$107,500
Washington, DC$96,800$130,950
Miami, Florida$79,100$107,000
Orlando, Florida$72,950$98,700
Tampa, Florida$73,650$99,700
Atlanta, Georgia$77,300$104,550
Chicago, Illinois$88,850$120,200
Boston, Massachusetts$96,050$130,000
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota$76,550$103,600
New York City, New York$101,150$136,850
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania$82,350$111,400
Dallas, Texas$80,150$108,500
Houston, Texas$79,800$108,000
Seattle, Washington$92,450$125,100
National Average$72,250$97,750

Sample interview questions

  • What does an environmental engineer do?
  • What are the latest trends in your field of environmental engineering?
  • What key qualities does an environmental engineer need?
  • When you’re out in the field, how do you deal with conflicts?
  • When did you run into an issue in your last position, and how did you move past it?
  • What’s the hardest part of being an environmental engineer?
  • Are you familiar working inside of a lab? How do you ensure all samples stay sterile and pure?
  • What is the solvent?
  • Which common engineering equipment are you familiar with?
  • What would you consider to be the most important aspect of safety in environmental engineer?
  • Can you describe a time when your testing identified areas for improvement? Were the changes implemented and were they successful?

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