University of Colorado at Boulder
Syllabus : Environmental Engineering Design 
Instructor:Angela R. Bielefeldt
Office:516 ECOT
Phone:(303) 492-8433
Web Site:
Classes:Tues. 3:30-5 pm ECCR 116; Thurs. 3:30-5 pm ECCE 1B47
Office Hours:Tues 2-3 pm, Wed. 10am-noon, Fri 1-2 pm, or by appointment

The purpose of this course is to prepare you for professional practice as an engineer by simulating the experience at a consulting firm. Working with a single team throughout the entire semester, you will work on a single, current design problem in Enviornmental Engineering. Through written reports and oral presentations, you will practice the communiciation skills vital to all engineers. Tours of local facilities (for example, wastewater treatment plants) will provide you with a real world view of engineering. The projects selected are current needs being designed by local consulting firms or near-future needs of city utilities. The course will be very different from your other Civil/Environmental Engineering classes, since there are no exams and the goal is not for every student learn the same technical information.

In this course you should:

  1. Further develop skills and gain experience with tackling open-ended design problems
  2. Learn methods for evaluating design alternatives for complex technical systems, and gain an understanding of engineering design as a goal-oriented problem solving activity defined by a variety of constraints (not all of which are technical)
  3. Further develop your ability to seek out knowledge and learn independently
  4. Further develop your experience in working on project teams
  5. Gain experience managing your own time and workload, without weekly assignments of specific material to complete.
  6. Further develop your ability to write and speak clearly and effectively about technical subjects.
  7. Develop an appreciation for engineering design as part technical skill, experience, and art.

There is no required textbook for the class.

If your project concerns wastewater treatment, I would recommend that at least one copy of the textbook by Metcalf & Eddy, Wastewater Engineering, published by McGraw-Hill, is available in each group. This is a great reference for wastewater treatment plant design. Alternatively, Small and Decentralized Wastewater Management Systems" by Crites and Tchobanoglous includes a better range of technologies appropriate for smaller systems.

If your project concerns aspects of solid waste, Integrated Solid Waste Management by Tchobanoglous et al. published by McGraw-Hill is the most complete general reference.

If you have a project concerning site remediation, good reference books include Remediation Engineering Deisgn ConceptsDesign of Remediation Systems by Wong et al., CRC Press; Hazardous Waste Management by LaGrega et al., McGraw Hill. Due to the pace of new technology development in this area, current EPA and other guidance documents (many available from the web) should also be consulted.

You should also be ready to go to the library to consult journals and other texts, and the web (particularly the US EPA site) to find information needed for the class.

Three team written reports:

  • Proposal and Workplan (12%)
  • Alternatives Assessment (25%)
  • Preliminary Design (30%)

Two team presentations:

  • Proposal (8%)
  • Alternative Selection and Preliminary Design (15%)

Timesheets, video comments, biweekly team meeting minutes, attending consultant and student presentations; Learning Reflection paper, non-technical challenges discussion, Final Exit Interview (10%)

For students earning their B.S. degree in Civil Engineering, the 4th credit of the course encompasses a range of professional issues topics that are important for students to know, as describes in the ASCE's Body of Knowledge for Civil Engineering. Therefore, students in CVEN 4830 are required to attend lectures held jointly with the other section of CVEN 4830. In Fall 2006, these lectures are:

  • Ethics (Oct 24, Dec 5)
  • Project Financing (Oct 3)
  • Professional liability (Oct 31)
  • Specifications and Standards (Nov 14)

Extra assignments include:

  • Write-up of what was learned in the CVEN 4830 lecture series
  • Failure analysis: Written report

The specifics of these assignments are provided in the attached document.
With this 4th credit added, the additional assignments are worth 25% of the grade, with the normal assignments worth 75%.

For students taking the course to earn graduate-level credit, extra work is required beyond that in CVEN 4434. You will write a report related to your team project and useful to the client, but slightly beyond the initial scope. The exact topic will be agreed upon by the student and professor. Some options are:

  • a discussion of how the public will be involved in the process (such as for the WW plan for SanMiguel)
  • a description of how the design will be implemented
  • a detailed description of how the performance of the process will be monitored

The extra report will be turned in at the end of the semester, hopefully as an appendix to your team's project report. It is expected to be about 10-12 pages long. This report will change the assignment weighting factors somewhat (25% group final team report; 15% for your individual report plus timesheets, service learning paper, etc.