CIV_ENV 260-0: Environmental Systems and Processes



Corequisite: MATH 220-2; CHEM 131-0, CHEM 151-0, or CHEM 171-0 highly recommended.


Mass and energy concepts applied to major issues facing environmental engineers: safe drinking water, surface water quality, ambient air quality, global atmosphere, managing solid and hazardous wastes.

Course Objectives

The objectives of the course are to provide an overview of environmental systems and to develop the ability to quantitatively analyze important physical, chemical, and microbiological processes in natural and engineered systems.

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Understand the important physical, chemical, and biological processes that regulate the dynamics of aquatic systems, the atmosphere, the land surface, and groundwater aquifers.
  2. Identify major contaminants of concern to human health and ecological health.
  3. Identify environmental resources necessary for modern society and evaluate constraints on sustainable development, such as ensuring ongoing access to sufficient high-quality water supplies and avoiding long-term degradation of aquatic ecosystems.
  4. Identify primary sources of drinking water, and key microbiological and chemical parameters that determine the suitability of water for drinking.
  5. Understand the regulatory framework for water and air quality.
  6. Summarize the major strategies used to remove contaminants from water and air, and how those strategies have been implemented in treatment infrastructure.
  7. Formulate steady-state and non-steady-state mass balances for conservative and nonconservative substances in natural systems and constructed systems.
  8. Use mass balance models in basic engineering design calculations for treatment systems.
  9. Perform basic estimations of health risks associated with natural environmental hazards and regulated contaminant limits.

Course Assessment:

  • 32% Homework
  • 18% Laboratories
  • 18% Midterm
  • 25% Final Exam


Mihelcic, James Environmental Engineering: Fundamentals, Sustainability, Design.  2nd ed.: Wiley

Class Time:

4 hr/wk

Course Outline, Outcomes and Goals