Environmental Engineering Across The Engineering Curriculum; Classroom Case Studies and Database Application

by Tristan Baccay and Zikri Ahmed
An NSF-Gateway Project

Brief Overview

As the title implies, the research topic covered the area of environmental engineering. Specifically, how environmental engineering is being taught to future engineers, starting from the freshmen year and all the way up to graduate years. It seems, at least at Cooper Union, that (unless one is a civil engineer) students do not get a chance to involve the environment as one of the factors in projects or designs. Whether, the student is a chemical, electrical, or mechanical engineer, he or she does not have to take any required courses that teaches them the aspect of environmental engineering. Of course, there are electives that the student may take, but then again, those are optional.

Anyway, it can be seen that the environmental problems stem from the manufacture and production of goods (chemicals, computers, clothing). All disciplines of engineering must band together and come up with solutions to help alleviate the global pollution problems. It starts in school, all the way from pre school, to grade school, to high school, college, and beyond. As future engineers, the burden seems insurmountable. But with the introduction of this subject as early as the freshman year, a student can better himself or herself and appreciate the work that has been done by others. Teaching college students about the environment will foster a teamwork-like spirit since not one person can do everything. The expertise and knowledge of all the engineering disciplines are equally important and in fact needed to solve problems. Moreover, it develops a sense of unity and simulates a "real world" experience.

What was done was a collection or rather a compilation of chemical concentration data from several treatment facilities was created. They ranged from local municipalities to industrial plants, namely electrochemical, pharmaceutical, oil, and battery industries. Subsequently, the database was utilized to help solve projects and homework problems given in class. Essentially, the database is a supplemental tool that engineers can use to whatever purpose the user has in mind. With this realistic set of information, students and teachers alike can better gauge what the engineers must do to safely treat say 100 MGD in less than half a day before discharging it into a local receiving water. And in making up problems for the students, professors need not think of numerical values that will give "nice" answers. This database will provide a current, updated, and realistic set of data that students/professors can utilize, specifically in a design class.

"The Database"

The influent and effluent concentrations of several wastewater treatment facilities from industrial plants and town municipalities are found within this database. This collection consists of six municipal treatment plants and four industrial factories. The municipal plants are labeled as MTP* where * could be either A,B,C,D,E, or F. On the other hand, the four companies are of the following type: 1) electrochemical, 2) pharmaceutical, 3) oil refinery, and 4) battery manufacturer. The names and exact locations of the specific treatment facilities are purposely not included to protect the anonymity of the source. Although the general location of the majority of the facilities can be mentioned to be found within the New York and New Jersey areas. In addition, safety guidelines such as the worker's minimum chemical threshold concentration, symptoms, and target organs are included as well. The numerical values are mostly given in mg/L units with a few exceptions of g/L.

The format of the database is in a tabular manner. It is rather self-explanatory and concise. Each of the plant informations is divided into several folders or sections. Just click on the appropriate sections (highlighted) to examine the other available information. If there are any questions regarding the data or headings, please refer to the Documentation Section. The database was created using HTML 3. You need at least Netscape 2.02 or higher to be able to read the tables. If you have problems reading or downloading the data, I have it available in QuattroPro for Windows version 6.0.

Please click here, enviro.zipto download the database in a Zipped, Excel file (55K).

Table of Contents

To access the files of the database, just click on the appropriate file name that you wish to peruse. What follows next is the database that was compiled.

Questions and comments are openly welcome. Please email me at baccay@cooper.edu. When my email account gets deleted from school, you may contact my advisor, Professor Zikri Ahmed, at ahmed@cooper.edu. If problems occur, please don't hesitate to contact me or my advisor.

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The tables in the links were created using an excel (v 5.0) to html converter courtesy of Jordan Evans.