December 2009, Vol. 21, No.12

Water Volumes

Environmental Engineering: Water, Wastewater, Soil, and Groundwater Treatment and Remediation (Sixth Edition)

Nelson L. Nemerow, Franklin J. Agardy, Patrick Sullivan, and Joseph A. Salvato, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 111 River St., Hoboken, N.J., 07030 (2009), 400 pp., $125, Hardcover, ISBN: 978-0-470-08303-1

This sixth edition of Salvato’s Environmental Engineering has now been reorganized into three volumes. This volume covers water supply, water treatment, and wastewater treatment. The chapters on water supply and water treatment are authored by David Chinn. He describes the basics of water supply, starting with water quality and including hydrogeological aspects. The book also covers the latest U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards for drinking water, notes on sampling and pollutants, and an introduction on well-drilling.

The approach is, unfortunately, quite conservative and ignores new trends and insights on sustainability. For example, the book states that "it is axiomatic that, in general, the cleanest surface and underground water source available should be used as a source of drinking water," a statement that does not take any aspects of sustainability into account. New technologies, such as membrane filtration, are mentioned but not elaborated upon.

On the other hand, the book is strong on practical guidelines for a traditional approach to water supply and treatment. This is useful to provide a sufficient safety margin for small-scale systems without much follow-up but not really appropriate for larger, better designed systems. The chapter on wastewater treatment and disposal, authored by John R. Kiefer, follows the same lines, with an emphasis on small-scale systems.

This book is written from a practical point of view, with design figures and calculation examples for public health officers, environmental engineers, and plant operators. Don’t use this book when you are looking for innovative solutions or a more sustainable practice, but keep it as a reference to solve small-scale design and operation problems in conventional plants.


Bart Van der Bruggen is a professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Leuven in Belgium.


©2009 Water Environment Federation. All rights reserved.