They study how to treat water and waste to make them usable again, as well as air and water quality, hazardous waste, and public hygiene. Often, they develop waste treatment facilities, develop regulations, and come up with models that predict the human impact on on the environment. At the most basic levels, they try to find practical solutions to environmental issues, hopefully without doing more damage in the long run.
The very first thing I learned in my introduction to environmental engineering course at UC Davis was how to calculate the concentrations of pollutants in a system (a river, lake, city, building, etc) using various mass balance equations. Since many pollutants decompose over time and are only dangerous above certain concentrations, this information can be used to help lawmakers and government agencies such as the EPA decide how much (or how little) pollution corporations can dump into rivers or spew into the air. If pollution gets out of hand, environmental engineers can design treatment systems for it as valorie stated. However, the primary goal it to make sure it does not get out of hand in the first place.
In addition to the pollutants studied such as valorie and happyhodges mentioned in their posts, environmental engineers can also help develop new sustainable technologies. When I worked at Energizer, there were many engineers that looked at material chemistry and production processes in order to make them more sustainable.
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