Back to top

Soil and Water Engineering (Hydrology, Contaminant Transport and Remediation)

Specialization Overview

Soil & Water Engineering involves the interactions of species with each other and with their environment. The interactions may be affected by environmental contaminants and/or may be used by humans for productive purposes.

Large-scale microbial processes such as composting use mixed cultures in stable or sequential consortia determined by their environments. Even large industrial bioreactors producing enzymes, fuels and antibiotics effectively operate as ecologies rather than pure cultures due to genetic drift and low-level contamination.  Biological processes in nature such as nitrogen fixation, and those designed by humans to work with nature such as habitat restoration, bioremediation, green walls for air, and integrated pest management, involve interactions among species ranging in scale from microbes to redwoods. Engineers focusing on microbial and ecological systems study these interspecies interactions, design them into systems which produce useful products and preserve the environment, and monitor ecosystems to preserve their stability in the face of population growth and climate change.

Careers in Soil and Water Engineering

Engineering careers in microbial and ecological systems may be found in hydroponics, biofuels, food processing, management of pests and invasive species, and sustainable waste processing including advances in composting and anaerobic digestion. Engineers in this area may develop microbial consortia to decompose contaminants or render them harmless, to promote plant growth and disease resistance, or to help replace chemical pesticides and herbicides.  In future, the design, monitoring and construction of ecosystems will grow in importance as Earth and its multiple populations adjust to climate change and water scarcity.

Sample Curricula

Student  1 sample  - fall
course title
BEE 5951 Master of Engineering Design Project
BEE 4750 Environmental Systems Analysis
CEE 6530 Water Chemistry
CSS 2600 Soil Science
 HORT 4940 Forests, Fields, and Swamps                                                                          
student 1 sample - spring
course title
BEE 5952 Master of Engineering Design Project                                  
BEE 4350 Principles of Aquaculture
BEE 4940 Climate Change Solutions
BEE 6970 Graduate Individual Study in BEE
CEE 5970 Risk Analysis and Management
student 2 sample - fall
course title
BEE 5951 Master of Engineering Design Project
CEE 4730 Design of Concrete Structures
CEE 6530 Water Chemistry for Environmental Engineering
CEE 6550 Transport, Mixing, and Transformation in the Environment
CEE 6560 Physical/Chemical Process
student 2 sample - spring
course title
BEE 5952 Master of Engineering Design Project                                
BEE 5330 Engineering Professionalism
BEE 6740 Ecohydrology
CEE 5970 Risk Analysis and Management
CEE 6570 Biological Processes
CSS 4200 Geographic Information Systems

Past MEng Project Titles

  • WEPP Soil Erosion Predictions for Engineering Applications
  • Phosphorus and Sediment Transport in Sixmile Creek and Cayuga Inlet
  • Management of Phosphorus and Sediment Loads to Cayuga Lake
  • Hydrologic Modeling of Alaskan Bogs: A Synthesis of a Soil Respiration Study in a Coastal Temperate Rainforest
  • Upstate New York Weatherization and Effects on Indoor Air Quality
  • Productivity Study of Cayuga Lake
  • Building a Model to Assess the Effects of Road Salt on Water Quality
  • Sensitivity of Ecological Risk Assessment to Model Parameters
  • Erosion in Six Mile Creek
  • GIS Model paper