Environmental Health

A healthy water environment is critical for human and ecological life. The water environment is impacted by historical legacy (i.e., Superfund), contemporary (present wastewater discharges), and future (terrorist attacks, global warming), activities and events, coupled with, in some locations around the world, severe water shortages.

Professor Ed Beighley's PhD student Max Rome tends to his floating wetland system on the Charles River. The experiment is studying whether an artificial wetland can provide adequate habitat for species important to maintaining healthy water quality and combating pollution.

Critical problems include adequate source, treatment and delivery of potable drinking water; treatment, disposal and reuse of wastewater; the sustainable management and restoration of natural surface and groundwater resources, and the sediment-based ecosystem. Contaminants of emerging concern (e.g., endocrine disrupting compounds, nanoparticles, and PPCPs) and novel technologies (e.g., molecular tools, nanotechnology, cyber-infrastructure) cut across these problem areas.

Therefore, environmental health combines environmental engineering and public health to achieve new strategies that focus on strengths at Northeastern University including monitoring, modeling and engineering of clean water systems, identification and mitigation of emerging contaminants, and environmental and geoenvironmental strategies for transformation, restoration, and protection of the built and natural environments to achieve societal needs.

As a student of civil engineering at Northeastern University who wants to focus on environmental health, you will interact with a multidisciplinary group of our faculty who studies the relationships between engineering and the natural and built environment, air pollution, environmental epidemiology and exposure assessment, application of biotechnology  and bioecology for water quality improvement, ecotoxicology and toxicity assessment.

Our faculty also work on the development of sensors and instrumentation for detection of contaminants and water quality monitoring, transformation and remediation of water pollutants, soil and groundwater remediation, hydrologic impacts of climate and/or land use change, life cycle assessment, biological exchange of organic contaminants in the environment, and the development of dynamic models of ecological and environmental processes.