Environmental engineering is a relatively new profession with a long and honorable history. The descriptivet itle of “environmental engineer” was not used until the 1960s, when academic programs in engineering and public health schools broadened their scope and required a more accurate title to describe their curricula and their graduates. The roots of this profession, however, go back as far as recorded history.


These roots reach into several major disciplines including civil engineering, public health, ecology, chemistry, and meteorology. From each foundation, the environmental engi- neering profession draws knowledge, skill, and professionalism. From ethics, the environmental engineer draws concern for the greater good.

Throughout western civilization settled agriculture and the development of agricultural skills created a cooperative social fabric and spawned the growth of communities, as well as changed the face of the earth with its overriding impact on the natural environment. As farming efficiency increased, a division of labor became possible, and communities began to build public and private structures that engineered solu- tions to specific public problems. ENVIRONMENTAL ENGINEERING

Defense of these structures and of the land became paramount, and other structures subsequently were built purely for defensive purposes. In some societies the conquest of neighbors required the construction of machines of war. Builders of war machines became known as engineers, and the term “engineer” continued to imply military involvement well into the eighteenth century.

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