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A Compendium On Environmental Engineering For Ocean Engineering Majors

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.16.1 - 5.16.6



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Robert H. Mayer

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2651

A Compendium on Environmental Engineering for Ocean Engineering Majors Robert H. Mayer United States Naval Academy


This paper describes a new area of concentration within the ocean engineering major at the U.S. Naval Academy. This environmental engineering option finds its essence in two fundamental courses within the major that are complimented by multidisciplinary opportunities in other majors. The first fundamental course, Ocean Environmental Engineering, focuses on marine pollution: its principal causes, effects, and its remediation. The second, Ocean Resources Engineering, emphasizes methods for ocean resource assessment, recovery and utilization. Other environmental engineering opportunities include the capstone design course required of all engineering majors, and elective courses in such disciplines as environmental economics, environmental oceanography, environmental security, and marine environmental engineering. The purpose of this paper is to address the evolution of this environmental engineering option and to describe the content of its two fundamental courses. The paper also provides a brief description of recent environmental-related capstone design projects and reviews topical coverage of selected elective courses.


Nearly 80% of the earth’s surface is covered by water, yet the vast majority is found in the oceans and is much too salty for drinking, irrigation or industrial use. Main sources of water for human use are freshwater lakes and rivers. However, during its early consultations, the World Commission on Water for the 21st Century reported that more than half of the world’s rivers are going dry or are polluted1. The Commission also suggested that overuse and misuse of land and water resources in river basins is degrading and poisoning surrounding ecosystems. With over 200 river basins shared by two or more countries, still others warn of water wars in the 21st century2. Engineers, scientists, and politicians, among others, will be continually challenged to provide effective management strategies for the protection, remediation, recovery and utilization of the world’s water resources.

This very challenge, early on, sparked development of an environmental engineering option within the ocean engineer major at the U.S. Naval Academy. In response to student interests, an initial course: “Environmental Issues in Ocean Engineering” was team taught by two ocean engineering faculty in the spring of 1994. Student contributions were significant; each pair of students was required to research two marine-related environmental topics (from a faculty- generated list), prepare written reports, and provide formal briefings to the class. The participating faculty served as course facilitators and led discussions of generic issues such as decision analysis, engineering economics, environmental legislation and estuarine hydrodynamics.

Mayer, R. H. (2000, June), A Compendium On Environmental Engineering For Ocean Engineering Majors Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. 10.18260/1-2--8220

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