How environmental specialists advocate for our natural environment

Environmental engineers, including environmental specialists/consultants have a profound impact on the world’s environmental problems.

They use the scientific principles of biology, ecology, chemistry, and more, to develop effective ethical and socially responsible solutions to improve recycling, waste disposal, public health, and water and air pollution control.

While a geotechnical engineer is concerned with the behaviour of the earth’s materials, including soil and rock, an environmental engineer/specialist will consider the potential impact of a structure in relation to the environment, including the microbiology beneath the ground’s surface.


They are expert in identifying, preventing and/or remediating soil and groundwater contaminants, to ensure that human health, and the health of other species, is protected. With a global emphasis on building a sustainable future and protecting our valuable natural resources for generations to come, environmental engineers have an important function.

Their responsibilities

  • Prepare, review, and update environmental investigation reports to understand the state of the environment
  • Assess and manage the effects of human and other activity on the natural and built environment
  • Provide technical support for environmental remediation projects and legal actions
  • Manage the effects of pollution and solid waste on the environment and living organisms, including hazardous waste management
  • Analyse scientific data and do quality-control checks
  • Understand what may cause problems for the environment in the long-term
  • Develop solutions to improve recycling, waste disposal, public health, and control of water and air pollution
  • Design projects leading to environmental protection, such as water reclamation facilities, air pollution control systems, and operations that convert waste to energy
  • Obtain, update, and maintain plans, permits, and standard operating procedures
  • Monitor progress of environmental management programs
  • Inspect industrial and community facilities and programs to ensure compliance with environmental regulations

Types of projects

Environmental engineers/specialists work within many professional settings, including scientific research or academia, compliance, or in engineering consultancy like Douglas Partners where they work in concert with geotechnical engineering works. Below are some typical projects where environmental engineers/specialists can provide expert advice and assessment services to industry and government.

Land Development - Environmental Study
  • Public infrastructure (like underground pipelines)
  • Land development (to determine the suitability of land for urban development)
  • Construction (to assess land contamination, groundwater sampling, remediation plans
  • Building refurbishment (to assess asbestos survey and implement management plan)

The environmental team at Douglas Partners is a diverse mix of engineers, scientists, occupational hygienists, and auditors.

Their major function is to make environmental conditions suitable for the proposed site use. They also assist our clients to understand and comply with their environmental obligations as landholders, developers, and public authorities.

As we operate across several markets, our environmental team provide a variety of specialist knowledge and advice, including services and support related to contaminated land management, waste management, remediation, salinity and acid sulphate soils assessment, marine environment studies, environmental management plans and environmental auditing.

To learn more about Environmental engineering and the possible pathways at the University of Newcastle, watch this short video with Dana, Senior associate and Environmental Engineer at Douglas Partners: