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CEE 4803. Engineering and the Environment F04 MWF 2-3 L1205 ES&T. Catalog Description (CEE 2300). Credit Hours: 3-0-3 Prerequisites: CHEM1310, PHYS2211, MATH1502

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cee 4803
CEE 4803

Engineering and the Environment


MWF 2-3

L1205 ES&T

catalog description cee 2300
Catalog Description (CEE 2300)

Credit Hours: 3-0-3

Prerequisites: CHEM1310, PHYS2211, MATH1502

Introductory course in environmental engineering focusing on physical, chemical and biological processes governing the fate of contaminants in air, water and soil.

educational objectives
Educational Objectives

The course is intended to introduce freshman and sophomore-level students to the field of environmental engineering. Fundamental physical, chemical and biological principles are utilized to explain processes controlling the fate and distribution of contaminants in air, water and soil. Throughout the course, the impact of human activities and engineering decisions on environmental systems is emphasized, as well as the many political and economic constraints that must be considered during any decision process. Topics include:

(1) global carbon cycle, population and energy

(2) global warming, acid rain and urban ozone

(3) distribution of contaminants in air-water-soil systems

(4) fate and transport of organic contaminants

(5) biological principles, microbial growth and nutrient cycles

(6) bioremediation of organic contaminants

  • Office hours by appointment
teaching assistant
Teaching Assistant
  • Rosa Krajmaljik-Brown, EnvE Ph.D. Candidate
  • gt0941b@mail.gatech.edu
  • Office hours: Thursdays 11-12 in Ford ES&T 3229
  • No textbook
  • Handouts
  • Class web page


  • Exam 1 – Module 1 25%
  • Exam 2 – Module 2 25%
  • Final (12/10 11:30) 40%
    • Module 1 1/6
    • Module 2 1/6
    • Module 3 2/3
  • Homework 10%
  • Class Participation -10 to +10%
  • Several homework sets will be assigned during the semester. You may work alone or in groups to complete the homework assignments, but you should solve each problem. If you do work in groups, write the names of the people you worked with at the top of the homework set. Homework will be collected at the beginning of class on the day that it is due. No homework assignments will be accepted late unless a prior arrangement has been made with the instructor.
class participation
Class Participation
  • Class participation as well as attendance are taken very seriously and will account for 10% of the final grade. If you do not attend class regularly and participate in class, your course grade will be impacted.
honor code
Honor Code

Students in this class are expected to abide by the Georgia Tech Honor Code and to avoid any instances of academic misconduct, including but not limited to:

1. Use of cell phones during class. Place cell phones in your bag and turn them off.

2. Possessing, using, or exchanging improperly acquired written or oral information in the preparation of homework, class project, and exams.

3. Use of material that is wholly or substantially identical to that created or written by another individual or group.

4. False claims of performance or work that have been submitted by a student.

Please see the Georgia Tech Honor Code for further information at http://www.honor.gatech.edu/


The only electronic devices allowed in class during exams are calculators. No PDA’s , cell phones or computers should be brought on exam days. Presence of such devices will result in a zero on the exam.

module 1
Module 1

Air Quality Engineering and the Environment

instructor ted russell
Instructor – Ted Russell
  • background
    • mechanical engineering (WSU, Caltech)
    • CMU
    • civil and environmental engineering
  • Atmospheric pollutant dynamics, pollution control, policy analysis
    • Air pollution physics and chemistry
    • Computer modeling
    • Economic optimization of controls
    • Relationship between air quality and health

Module 1: Air Quality Engineering and the Environment


1 W policy, health, and environment The Tragedy of the Commons

2 F population growth Population and Economic Growth

3 M carbon cycle and the atmosphere

4 W energy consumption Energy from Fossil Fuels

5 F combustion –

6 W runaway chemical rxn Bhopal Industrial Accident

7 F recitation

8 M global warming The Atmosphere: … (pp. 499-515)

9 W global warming

10 F acid rain – Acid Deposition (pp. 343-366)

11 M urban smog Photochemical Smog (pp. 366-380)

12 W urban smog

13 F recitation

14 M review

15 W exam

environmental concerns
Environmental Concerns
  • What are the greatest environmental threats right now?
    • Short term vs. long term
    • Risks to
      • Humans
      • Environment
    • See US EPA (1987) “Unfinished Business”
engineering risk and the environment
Engineering, Risk and the Environment
  • Engineers must deal with risk, particularly when dealing with environmental issues
      • Our actions will impact people and our environment
        • We do not know, perfectly, how that impact will be manifested
      • We need to be able to deal with and communicate risk
        • We actually deal with it every day
  • What is the $ value of a human life?
  • What is the value of our environment?
  • Human life
    • M&M (syllabus) experiment
    • How fast you drive
    • More classical methods
      • Surveys, willingness to pay, job choice, lost production
        • Ken’s choice
  • Environment
    • Willingness to pay, etc.
  • See http://www.uno.edu/geology/Easley/Essays/RiskAnalysis.html, http://abcnews.go.com/sections/science/WhosCounting/paulos990901.html
how fast you drive
How fast you drive
  • Difference between driving 55 vs. 65
    • In 70’s reducing speed limit reduced deaths by 9000/yr
    • Approximately 6x1011 miles/yr traveled on highways
    • Takes ~ 0.0028 hrs longer to go one mile
    • Average pay about $22/hr
    • (6x1011miles /9000 lives)*(2.8x10-3 hours/mi*$22/hr)= $4,000,000/life
some example costs of regulation
Some example costs of Regulation
  • RegulationCost of saving one life (US $.)
  • Auto passive restraint/seat belt standards 100,000
  • Aircraft seat cushion flammability standard 400,000
  • Alcohol and drug control standards 400,000
  • Auto side door support standards 800,000
  • Tier II Standards 1,000,000
  • Trenching and excavation standards 1,500,000
  • Asbestos occupational exposure limit 8,300,000
  • Haz. waste listing for petrol. refining sludge 27,600,000
  • Atrazine/Alachlor drinking water standard 92,069,700,000
  • Haz waste listing for wood pres. chem. 5,700,000,000,000
  • From http://pw2.netcom.com/~drpauls/value.html: Tier II from US EPA.
env economics
Env. Economics
  • Interesting article on Market-based approaches to cleaning up the environment:
    • http://www.rff.org/rff/Documents/RFF-Resources-151-Marketapproaches.pdf
    • Read for Wednesday!
reading handouts
Reading Handouts
  • “The Tragedy of the Commons,” Garrett Hardin, from: Science, 1968, vol. 162, pp. 1243-1248.
  • “Population and Economic Growth,” Gary W. Heinke, Environmental Science and Engineering, 2nd edition, 1996, chapter 2, pp. 14-45.
  • “Energy from Fossil Fuels,” Bernard J. Nebel and Richard T. Wright, Environmental Science, 7th edition, 2000, chapter 13, pp. 309-330.
  • “Bhopal Industrial Accident, 10 pages.
  • “The Atmosphere: Climate, Climate Change, and Ozone Depletion,” Bernard J. Nebel and Richard T. Wright, Environmental Science, 7th edition, 2000, chapter 21, pp. 499-523.
  • “The Changing Atmosphere: Acid Deposition and Photochemical Smog,” Fred T. MacKenzie, Our Changing Planet: An Introduction to Earth System Science and Global Environmental Change, 3rd edition, 2003, chapter 11, pp. 343-381.
  • “Unfinished Business: A Comparative Assessment of Environmental Problems ”, US EPA, 1987
  • http://www.ieagreen.org.uk/warm10.htm
  • http://www.rff.org/rff/Documents/RFF-Resources-151-Marketapproaches.pdf