It’s EarthDay once again! [April 22nd] In schools across the United States, students are learning about the important natural resources available to us and they are taking time to focus on ways to reduce, reuse, renew and recycle. It is encouraging seeing this focus in the classroom and exciting to think about how this will translate to a better tomorrow. That is our focus at MeritCorp every day – ‘Designing the Future’ to our best ability every day. Perhaps you read the title of this Blog and you are asking yourself, “What does a Civil Engineer do that affects our environment?”
WHAT DO ENGINEERS DO?
There are many facets to Civil Engineering and some of the specializations have more impact than others. Here are just a few of the ways that a Civil Engineer manages the resources around us:
- Engineers design how and where water flows taking into account contaminates, distance, filtration and final location. This includes surface water, groundwater, wastewater, soil and air.
- Engineers help manage our natural environment including wetlands, watersheds and floodplains.
- Engineers design systems for wastewater treatment and disposal of solid and hazardous waste.
EARTH DAY – EVERY DAY
With each and every project, whether it be a roadway, building, or subdivision it is important to note that Engineers do not just consider building size and location, vehicle/pedestrian pavement design, traffic flow and safety, but they look at how the stormwater runoff will be collected, stored and discharged. A Civil Engineer needs to find a way to reduce the volume of water and the level of contaminates in stormwater runoff. They need to consider how to utilize natural filtration thru clean soil to recharge groundwater tables and to help protect sources of drinking water.
- Where will the water that washes off the sediment, salt and oil from the building or pavement go?
- How are contaminates separated from the stormwater discharge?
- When a building is constructed, will there be enough area to contain rainfall and prevent downstream flooding?
- Does the planned building or parking lot affect a natural area or wetland?
Proper management of stormwater from any land development is essential to ensure the continued quality of our natural water system of streams, rivers, wetlands, watersheds and floodplains.
SITE CIVIL WORK AND BEYOND
When buildings and subdivisions are constructed, the civil engineers are responsible for designing how and where drinking water is provided to serve the site and how wastewater will be leaving the site.
- Where will the water and sewer lines that are necessary for the building go?
- How will they hook up with what is already in place?
- How are these water and sewer lines protected?
Municipalities and some developments are required to have wastewater filtered and cleaned either by a water treatment facility or thru a natural process before it goes back into our streams and waterways.
Earth Day is an important reminder that we need to minimize our negative impact on the environment. As we learn and improve, we also strive to ‘clean up’ what is already in place thru testing and remediation. Every day MeritCorp Group LLC works to design a better tomorrow thru responsible planning and thoughtful Engineering. We can also help identify potential hazards at existing developments with Phase I and PhaseII investigations, and Asbestos Surveys. We don’t need to wait for Earth Day to improve the World we live in because here we do it every day.
– by Clayton Schuler and Rebecca Luginbill