CEEG 340

Introduction to Environmental Engineering


Fall 2019. 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 and air quality, transport of pollutants in the environment, water and wastewater treatment, as well as solid and hazardous waste. 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, biology, and math) 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 Here in the US, we face challenges associated with crumbling, out-of-date civil and environmental engineering infrastructure, water quality, and air quality. Other, less developed regions of the world suffer from lack of access to clean water and sanitation. According to the United Nations, 2.6 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 numbers. Other course goals will be assessed directly and indirectly.

  • Integrate and apply relevant content from previous and current courses---chemistry, physics, and calculus---to identify, formulate, and solve environmental engineering problems. (1)
  • Describe major environmental challenges. (2)
  • Convert chemical concentrations among units of measurement commonly used in environmental engineering (e.g., mole/L, ppm). (1)
  • Write balanced chemical reactions. (1)
  • Apply principles of chemical equilibrium and mass balance to determine the partitioning of pollutants among air and water. (1)
  • Estimate how concentrations of chemicals change over the course of a reaction using zero-, first-, and second-order rate equations. (1)
  • Apply the principles of material balances to determine the fate and transport of pollutants and process products in natural and engineered systems. (1)
  • Describe the fundamental factors that affect the selection, design, and operation of pollution treatment technologies.
  • Design basic components of water and wastewater treatment reactors. (1)
  • List common air pollutants, how they move in the environment and pose a risk to human health (2).
  • Describe the impact of civil and environmental engineering on society and the environment. (2, 4)
  • Conduct laboratory experiments, analyze experimental data, and draw appropriate conclusions from experimental results. (6)
  • Communicate technical information in graphical form. (3)
  • Explain how you have Developed your ability to learn independently. (7)


Course materials (such as homework assignments and solutions, lab handouts, and learning objectives for exams) will be posted on the course website landing page, and the course schedule page.

Professionalism and Participation

Consider the classroom a professional environmental and behave as if you were at work. Attendance in lectures is not required, but is highly recommended. Lecture attendance will contribute to the Participation and Professionalism part of your grade. You are expected to arrive on time and prepared for class, including completing reading assignments. In addition, I ask that you don't leave the classroom during the lecture period unless you absolutely have to. Walking in and out of the classroom is unprofessional and distracting for me and your peers. During class periods, you will work through problems, which will help you with homework, quizzes, and exams. In addition, I call on students regularly to help you stay engaged with the material. No alcohol or tobacco are permitted in class. Any unprofessional or disrespectful behavior will be rewarded with a zero for the the last homework assignment turned in.

If you'd rather be sleeping, texting, snap chatting, instagramming, shopping, watching tennis, or gaming, I suggest you do it somewhere more comfortable than the classroom. Don't use laptops, tablets, or cell phones--unless it's helping you work on an in-class problem or discussion.

Class Periods

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.


The laboratory periods will be used to perform experiments that reinforce and/or illustrate concepts from the class. The period will also be used for field trips, short lectures, problem solving and discussions. 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.

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 permission from 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 5–10 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 you anticipate missing more than one class.

Homework Policy

Homework assignments 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. I recommend that you use engineering paper for numerical problems you are solving by hand, and that you type up any essay type questions. As solution sets are posted promptly after the due dates, late homework cannot be accepted after 72 hours past the due date. Homework turned in up to 72 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.


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.

Summer Reading

This summer you were provided with the book Autonomous, by Annalee Newitz. I chose this book for a couple of reasons. First, it’s an exciting novel that’s hard to put down, and I think summer reading should be fun. Second, the book’s genre, “cli-fi” (or climate change fiction), is an imaginative view of what life might look like in a post climate change future with an altered and degraded environment. As you read Autonomous, please pay attention to the following:
  • descriptions of nature and the environment in an imaginary future and how they differ from today’s nature and environment;
  • how people overcame environmental challenges related to climate change;
  • technologies used to produce energy and food, which are different from today’s technologies.
During the semester I will ask you to compose a 300–500 word reading response about the book, the story, possibilities for our future, living with climate change, renewable energy technology, and robots with brains. This reading response is due on September 27. In addition, you are required to go out to lunch or a coffee/milkshake drink at 7th St Cafe with me in groups of 3 or 4 to discuss the book. The cost is covered by the Provost's Office and the CEE Department. To schedule these meetings, please send me a Google Calendar invitation, for a 1 h meeting, to which you should come prepared to discuss the book.

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.


  • 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 for 72 h with a 20% grade reduction, except for two silver bullets. After 72 h late homework will not be accepted.
  • 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.
  • Reading Response & Lunch (Autonomous) -- 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.
    • Midterm Exam 2 -- 12 (or 6)% of final grade.
    • Midterm Exam 3 -- 12 (or 6)% of final grade.
  • 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