CIVE 3331: Environmental Engineering
Fall 2017, Fall 2019, Spring 2020
This junior level course introduces principles of environmental engineering, including mass and energy balances, and applications of environmental engineering, including surface water and groundwater quality, water treatment, air pollution, and hazardous waste treatment.
In Fall 2017, all students (20 teams) participated in a joint multidisciplinary project with Prof. Ken Ripperger-Suhler’s HLT 3300 (Social Health and Wellness) course in the UH College of Education. CIVE 3331 students performed field work in the Houston area to collect tap water samples, analyze the water quality in the laboratory, and perform a risk assessment for the drinking water. HLT 3300 students also performed field work to collect demographic and health infrastructure data. At the end of the course, the data set from both classes was compiled, and students performed statistical analyses to evaluate whether there were any associations between water quality and social health factors. Results were presented in a poster, oral presentation, and report.
A selected student project is highlighted here:
CIVE-3331-Fall-2017-Student-Report.pdf – Tiffany Chan, Joe Duran, Reema Mehdi, Kim Mejia, Jasmine Perez, Tiffany Vo
In Fall 2019 and Spring 2020, students continued the water sampling project. Additional laboratory assays for the copper and iron measurements were added. Students also tested the source water to the East Water Purification Plant to compare against their treated tap water samples. For both semesters, the entire class uploaded their test data to a Google map for visualization.
Fall 2019 students tested around the entire City of Houston: Shared Map
Spring 2020 students tested different buildings on the UH campus and compared the water quality in the lowest and highest floor of each building: Shared Map
CIVE 6378: Principles of Environmental Modeling
Fall 2016, Spring 2018, Fall 2019
Mathematical models are equations that describe a system, process, or phenomenon. Models enable us to predict or simulate how a system will behave. For environmental engineers, models are critical to design engineered systems (e.g., water treatment facilities) and evaluate the transport and exposure of chemicals in the environment.
This graduate level course introduces fundamental principles of environmental modeling, beginning with formulation of transport and reactivity models. Students also learn several practical aspects of modeling, such as model implementation (numerical modeling), model evaluation and uncertainty analysis, and model selection. These principles are applied to model the performance of water treatment systems, to analyze experimental data, and to model contaminant fate and transport. Students undertake a project at the end of the course to apply the tools learned in the course to model a data set of their own interest.
CIVE 6373: Experimental Methods in Environmental Engineering
Students received hands-on training on basic laboratory skills and laboratory safety, with an emphasis on best practices to improve sample preparation and measurements and basic statistical methods to assess reproducibility and significance testing. Students then performed several laboratories to evaluate a variety of sample types related to environmental, biological, or materials studies (including natural organic matter, pesticides, proteins, and polymers). Instruments covered include the UV-vis spectrometer (for raw sample analysis and for use with colorimetric assays), total organic carbon (TOC) analyzer, high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with solid phase extraction (SPE) for sample preparation, and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy. Students prepared seven lab reports over the course of the semester and were provided discussion questions that encouraged critical thinking or a critical evaluation of the reliability of their data.
The Fall 2020 section of the course will be held fully online. This section of the course will focus heavily on instrument theory and data analysis. Videos of the laboratories will be posted, and students will be provided sample data sets to analyze in order to prepare their lab reports.