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Environmental Engineer  What They Do

Just the Facts


Environmental Engineers Career Video



Researches, designs, plans, or performs engineering duties in the prevention, control, and remediation of environmental hazards using various engineering disciplines. Work may include waste treatment, site remediation, or pollution control technology.

This career is part of the Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources cluster Environmental Service Systems pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Designs or supervises the design of systems, processes, or equipment for control, management, or remediation of water, air, or soil quality.
  • Advises corporations or government agencies of procedures to follow in cleaning up contaminated sites to protect people and the environment.
  • Collaborates with environmental scientists, planners, hazardous waste technicians, engineers, experts in law or business, or other specialists to address environmental problems.
  • Obtains, updates, or maintains plans, permits, or standard operating procedures.
  • Serves as liaison with federal, state, or local agencies or officials on issues pertaining to solid or hazardous waste program requirements.
  • Provides technical support for environmental remediation or litigation projects, including remediation system design or determination of regulatory applicability.
  • Prepares, reviews, or updates environmental investigation or recommendation reports.
  • Develops site-specific health and safety protocols, such as spill contingency plans or methods for loading or transporting waste.
  • Inspects industrial or municipal facilities or programs to evaluate operational effectiveness or ensure compliance with environmental regulations.
  • Provides assistance with planning, quality assurance, safety inspection protocols, or sampling as part of a team conducting multimedia inspections at complex facilities.

Insider Info

Dig into the details and check out what people in this job have to say about their work.



Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Exposed to hazardous situations involving possible injury such as cuts, bites, stings, and minor burns more than once a month
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation requires being outside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Regular working hours and limited travel

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Environmental Consultant -- Advises on such areas as pollution, contaminated land and environmental policy and can involve fieldwork, conducting tests and surveys, collating and presenting environmental data and auditing processes for efficiency and environmental impact.
  • Soil Engineer -- Studies and analyzes surface and subsurface soils to determine characteristics for construction, development, or land planning.
  • Environmental Remediation Engineer --
  • Hazardous Substances Engineer --
  • Regulatory Environmental Compliance Manager --
  • Waste Management Engineer --