Environmental Engineering

The Environmental Engineering Laboratory is equipped for experimental evaluation of unit processes and operations in water and wastewater treatment a well as analysis of all physical, chemical and microbiological water quality parameters. Portions of it are used by faculty for research, but it is still available for undergraduate and graduate courses as needed. The laboratory is certified by the Department of Health in the State of New York, to perform conventional water and wastewater quality analyses and therefore it is more than adequate for helping students to attain the SOs associated with the courses it primarily supports: CE 47400 Environmental Engineering and CE 57100 Water Quality Analysis. 

The experimental facilities include settling columns, suspended and attached growth biological reactors, computer controlled bioreactor for kinetic studies, a bench scale UV chamber a 12 gpm 15 foot bubble contractor for ozone studies complete with ozone generator, gas and liquid phase ozone residual monitors and off-gas destructor, a 1000 ft. pipe loop system for water instability studies, and all conventional experimental devices used in determination of chemical dose requirements. An environmental chamber for temperature controlled experiments is also available.

The analytical capabilities of the laboratory include gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer with purge/tap, inductive coupled plasma spectrometer (ICP) gas chromatograph with EC and FID detectors, total organic carbon analyzer, ion chromatograph, water quality autoanalyzer, UV-visible double beam spectrophotometer with stopped-flow device, and phase contrast/epifluoresence research microscope. Field monitoring equipment include water quality monitors with multiple probes and fluorometers.

Students complete four experiments in CE 47400 Environmental Engineering:

(1) determination of physical-chemical water quality parameters such as turbidity, solid residues, pH, BOD, COD, and nitrogen species

(2) determination of the optimum coagulant dose in water treatment (the Jar Test)

(3) settling column test for flocculant (Type II) settling

(4) oxygen transfer efficiency and oxygen uptake rate in biological treatment processes.


The samples are brought in from local water and wastewater treatment plants the day of the experiment. The experiments are carried out by the students under supervision of the instructor and a research associated assigned to the laboratory. The data of each group are submitted to the instructor via e-mail by the group leaders of each group, a position that is rotated among the group members. The instructor examines the data for completeness and uploads them on Blackboard. This allows for a broader spectrum of experimental conditions to be examined and the effect of potential errors analyzed by running selected experimental conditions such as coagulant doses in duplicate or triplicate by different groups.  

Students complete six experiments in CE 57100 Water Quality Analysis:

(1) The carbonate system, open and closed, by titration to compare experimental and observed pKas and inflection points 

(2) acid-base chemistry – comparison of theoretical and experimental equilibrium pH levels of various weak acid and weak base solutions (pC-pH diagrams, MINEQL)

(3) buffer intensity – experimental confirmation of buffers designed with a specific intensity at a given pH (usually phosphate buffer systems are used)

(4) time dependent speciation of free and combined chlorine residuals at various chlorine to ammonia molar dose ratios

(5) calcium carbonate precipitation equilibria

(6) activated carbon adsorption (equilibria and kinetics). The students execute the experiments and analyze the data using statistical, graphical and specialized software. 

The available equipment and instruments allow for the simultaneous operation of five experimental stations. Each station can accommodate several students working in a group.