Career Profile: Civil Engineer – Water Reclamation
Reclaimed water, also known as recycled water, is water that has been taken from an impure or contaminated source such as drainage runoff or sewage water and treated through various physical and biological processes to once more be safe to use or drink. Reclaimed water is essential to environmental concerns for municipalities who wish to have less of an effect on their local resources, and can be used to water crops, resupply underground aquifers, and even supply potable drinking water to houses.
Some of the people who work to ensure that this waste water will be properly treated for reuse are civil engineers who work to design and build water treatment plants and other related infrastructure and systems. These engineers can plan and manage projects to design or construct treatment facilities, water transportation systems and municipal planning for wastewater infrastructure.
If helping to create water treatment solutions that can help municipalities and the environment is something that interests you, then it’s best to start early on in your education. Try to take classes in high school such as physics and math, and then look at going to university or university for a civil engineering program. Working in a co-op or internship position during high school or university can also be a good way to gain relevant experience and help you get a job in the field later in your career.
Most careers for civil engineers involved in water reclamation projects will require a minimum of a college engineering technician diploma, or a university engineering degree in civil engineering. More advanced career positions, such as those in management, may also require a master’s degree in civil, wastewater, or systems engineering. Engineering professions are regulated in Canada, so you will also need to complete the requirements to register as a Professional Engineer (P. Eng.)
Engineers working on water reclamation projects will need to know aspects of mechanical and environmental engineering, and skills such as the ability to perform complex problem solving, system analyses, and project management, as well as the ability to use computer-aided design programs to design the construction of facilities, or water supply and collection systems.
Wages for water reclamation engineers can range from $20/hour at the entry-level, to around $65/hour for more experienced workers and positions. Wages will also vary depending on what part of the province or country you are working in. Employment is typically for municipalities, government agencies, or with engineering consulting and construction firms.