CEEG 340

Introduction to Environmental Engineering


Fall 2017. Bucknell University

Course Material

From the Catalog

An introduction to the fundamentals of environmental engineering and science such as chemistry, microbiology, mass balance, and reactor theory. Application of fundamental concepts to environmental engineering includes water quality, water and wastewater treatment, solid and hazardous waste, air pollution, greenhouse gases and climate change. This course includes hands-on laboratory component with a focus on experiential learning.

Course Overview

In addition to covering fundamental principles (e.g., from chemistry, microbiology, and fluid mechanics) that govern environmental engineering, this course is also an opportunity for you to think about some of society's big problems. Here in the US, we face challenges associated with crumbling, out-of-date civil and environmental engineering infrastructure, and, in certain regions, looming problems of water scarcity. Other, less developed regions of the world suffer from lack of access to clean water and sanitation. According to the United Nations, 2.5 billion people lack access to basic sanitation, and 900 million people do not have safe drinking water.

Course Goals

Note that some of the ABET student outcomes will be assessed directly. ABET outcomes are indicated by lower case letters. Other course goals will be assessed directly and indirectly.

  • Integrate and apply relevant content from previous and current courses---chemistry, physics, calculus, and statistics---to identify, formulate, and solve environmental engineering problems. (a, e)
  • Describe major environmental challenges that developed and developing countries face today. (h)
  • Convert chemical concentrations among units of measurement commonly used in environmental engineering (e.g., mole/L, ppm). (a)
  • Wrtie balanced chemical reactions. (a)
  • Apply principles of chemical equilibrium and mass balance to determine the partitioning of pollutants among air and water. (a)
  • Estimate how concentrations of chemicals change over the course of a reaction using zero-, first-, and second-order rate equations. (a)
  • Apply the principles of material balances to determine the fate and transport of pollutants and process products in natural and engineered systems. (a)
  • Describe the fundamental factors that affect the selection, design, and operation of pollution treatment technologies.
  • Design basic components of water and wastewater treatment reactors. (e)
  • Describe common air pollutants, how they move in the environment and make people sick.
  • Describe the impact of civil and environmental engineering on society and the environment. (h)
  • Conduct laboratory experiments, analyze experimental data, and draw appropriate conclusions from experimental results. (b)
  • Improve your ability to communicate technical information in graphical form. (g)
  • Develop your ability to learn independently. (i)

Helpful Background

CHEM 201 General Chemistry I
Math 202 Calculus II
Math 226 Statistics for Engineers

Since this course is a mix of third-year (CivE) and second-year (EnvE) students, I realize that completion of the above courses varies among you. Please ask me (via email or in person) for guidance if you feel that I am not covering a topic you have not learned in a previous course.


Course materials (e.g., homework assignments and exam-prep documents) will be posted on the course schedule page. Information about labs including assignments will be posted on the CEEG 340 Moodle site. Class email announcements will be distributed through Bmail and Moodle.

Summer Reading

This summer you were provided with the book Water 4.0, by David Sedlak. The book provides historical, social, and economic context for the water aspect of environmental engineering. The book will be incorporated into homework assignments and class discussions throughout the semester. In addition, you are required to go out to lunch with me (in groups and cost is covered by Bucknell) this semester to discuss the book. You should come to lunch prepared to discuss two issues brought up in the book. Finally, the author, Professor Sedlak, will video conference into our class in October to answer questions.


We will closely follow chapters 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, and 9 in Environmental Engineering: Fundamentals, Sustainability, and Design, by James Mihelcic and Julie Zimmerman. Assigned reading will be posted on the course schedule page, ususally with a reading guide.


Class time will include lectures and time to work through example problems that will be given to you as handouts. To keep track of lecture notes and handouts, you should use a three-ring binder.


You will receive a syllabus for the lab portion of the course on the first day of lab (Tuesday, 22 August), and information on labs will be distributed via Moodle. The lab sessions are designed to complement the lecture course with hands on laboratory and modeling studies. In addition, we will sometimes use lab sessions for discussions and field trips. You must participate in all lab sessions and hand in all lab assignments to earn a passing grade in the course, regardless of exam and homework scores. Labs will be held in the Environmental Lab, 363 Breakiron. Note that, this year, I will not be teaching labs. The Instructors of the labs and I will meet weekly to coordinate, but please contact me with any comments, questions, or concerns.


  • Homework -- 10% of final grade. Starting the first week of classes problem sets will handed in at the start of class on the due date (there will be approximately eleven graded problem sets). Late homeworks will be accepted with a 20% grade reduction, except for two silver bullets. See below..
  • Quizzes -- 10% of final grade. At least eight quizzes will held at the beginning of class. Quizzes may or may not be announced.
  • Participation and Professionalism -- 5% of final grade.
  • Lunch (Water 4.0) -- 5% of final grade.
  • Midterm Exams -- 30% of final grade.There will be three midterm exams, and your lowest midterm score will count for half of the points as do the other two midterms.
    • Midterm Exam 1 -- 12(or 6)% of final grade. The midterm will be held Wednesday, September 27, during the usual lecture time, and will inlcude all material covered through Wednesday, September 14.
    • Midterm Exam 2 -- 12(or 6)% of final grade. The midterm will be held Monday, October 30, during the regular lecture time, and may include all material covered through, Monday, October 17.
    • Midterm Exam 3 -- 12(or 6)% of final grade. The midterm will be held Wednesday, November 15, during the regular lecture time, and may include all material covered through Wednesday, November 11.
  • Final Exam -- 20% of final grade. The final will be cumulative and be held on a date tbd by the registrar.
  • Laboratory -- 20% of final grade.

Final percentages will be converted to letter grades according to the following scheme. (Note, that to pass the course you must earn an average exam score of least 60%):

Percent Grade
93 – 100 A
90 – 92 A-
87 – 89 B+
83 – 86 B
80 – 82 B-
77 – 79 C+
73 – 76 C
70 – 72 C-
60 – 69 D
< 60 F
Exams and Quizzes

There will be three mid-term exams and one cumulative final exam. Make-up exams will only be available to students with written medical authorization from the Health Center or the Engineering Dean's Office. To pass this class your average exam grade must be at least 60%. But your lowest midterm will only count for 6% of your overall grade, whereas the other two midterms will each count for 12% of your final grade. In addition, there will be at least eight in-class quizzes, some of which will not be announced ahead of time. The goal of the quizzes is to help you keep up with reading and course work and alert me when important concepts are not clear. Quizzes will be held during the first 5–15 minutes of class (depending on how extensive they are), and there will be no make up quizzes. I will drop your lowest quizz score. Student athletes: please contact me if anticipate missing more than one class.

Homework Policy

There will be eleven or twelve problem sets over the semester that will give you the practice which is critical for succeeding on the exams. I encourage you to work with your classmates on the problem sets, but you must each submit your own work. If you work with a peer, you must note that on your homework assignment (e.g., “Worked with Deborah Sills”). Homework must be neat, readable, organized, and stapled, and points will be taken off for lack of clarity or poor presentation. As solution sets are posted promptly after the due dates, late homework cannot be accepted after 24 hours past the due date. Homework turned in up to 24 hours late will have 20% deducted from the maximum obtainable points, except for two 'silver bullets' (see next section). I strongly advise you to actively work through the problem sets. If you don't, you will likely not succeed on exams.

Two Silver Bullets: On two occasions, you may hand in your homework 24 hours late, if you make arrangements with me 24 hours before the due date.

Summer reading:The Big Necessity: the Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why it Matters, by Rose George.

I chose this book, because almost all of the chapters remind me how civil and environmental engineers have improved our lives, and, on the other hand, the problems that existing engineering designs don't address. Instead of asking you to write formal paper, I've set up a blog where you will have to opportunity to discuss the book in the form of blog posts. Take a look at the full assignment for more details.

Participation and Professionalism

Attendance, while not mandatory, is highly recommended, and will contribute to the Participation and Professionalism part of your grade. I take notes throughout the semester regarding attendance and participation; I use these notes as part of my subjective participation grade at the end of the course. In addition to listening to me lecture, you will actively work through problems during class, which should help you with homework, quizzes, and exams. Additionally, since I am trying to cultivate a learning community in the classroom, I ask that you arrive on time and prepared for class , and that includes completing reading assignments. I will call on students regularly, but only after I give you time (at least a minute) to think about a question I pose in class.

If you'd rather be sleeping, texting, snap chatting (can someone tell me what's so exciting about snap chat?), facebooking, shopping, watching tennis, or gaming, I suggest you do it somewhere more comfortable than the classroom. I prefer that you don't use laptops, tablets, or cell phones--unless it's helping you work on an in-class problem. In addition, please don't text and walk out and into class out of respect for your classmates.

(Rough and Subject to Change) Topic outline

  • Week 1 Introduction to Environmental Engineering & Sustainability
  • Week 2 Environmental Chemistry
  • Week 3 Mass Balances
  • Week 4 Reactor Analysis
  • Week 5 Ecosystems
  • Week 6 Water Quality
  • Week 7-9 Production of Safe Drinking Water
  • Week 10 Oxygen Demand and BOD
  • Week 11 Microbial Growth
  • Week 11-12 Wastewater Treatment
  • Week 13-14 Air Pollution
  • Week 15 Wrap up

Academic responsibility

Students are expected to abide by the principles clearly explained in the Student Handbook and to act in accordance with Bucknell University's Honor Code presented below. Under no circumstance, should any student submit work that is not of his or her authorship. If a deadline is tight or impossible, don't get desperate, instead, talk to me.

Bucknell University Honor Code

Bucknell students are responsible for the preparation and presentation of work representing their own efforts. Acceptance of this responsibility is essential to the educational process and must be considered as an expression of mutual trust, the foundation upon which creative scholarship rests. Students are directed to use great care when preparing all written work and to acknowledge fully the source of all ideas and language other than their own.

As a student and citizen of the Bucknell University community:

  • I will not lie, cheat, or steal in my academic endeavors.
  • I will forthrightly oppose each and every instance of academic dishonesty.
  • I will let my conscience guide my decision to communicate directly with any person or persons I believe to have been dishonest in academic work.
  • I will let my conscience guide my decision on reporting breaches of academic integrity to the appropriate faculty or deans.

Disability statement

Any student who feels s/he may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact me privately to discuss your specific needs. In addition, please contact Heather Fowler, Director of the Office of Accessibility Resources at 570-577-1188 or via email to coordinate reasonable accommodations.