Guidelines for the term project

The main objective of this project is to expand your knowledge of contemporary issues in the field of environmental engineering. You will choose an environmental issue (regional, national, or international) that has recently happened or that is currently happening which adversely impacted the public health and welfare of our society. You will write a technical report and give a presentation of your topic to a range of audiences at the end of the semester. It is a group project that every member must contribute to writing the report and preparing the presentation. All group members will receive the same project grade except for peer evaluation (5% presentation + 7% report + 3% peer evaluation = 15% of course grade). Through this project, you will develop an ability to acquire and apply new knowledge as needed, using appropriate learning strategies. You are also expected to enhance your ability to communicate effectively with a wide range of audiences.

A good technical report and presentation should include the following components:

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– Cover page

– Background

– Existing environmental pollution problems (air, water, land/soil, or noise)

– Causes and sources of the environmental pollution problem

– Solutions being offered by the federal, state, or local government

– Comments / recommendations on pollution problems and solutions

– References

Please use reliable resources such as textbooks, peer-reviewed journal publications, and data from reputable websites (e.g., NOAA, EPA, AWWA, NIH, ASCE, etc). The report should not exceed 10 pages (Font: Times New Roman, Size 12, single space), and the presentation should be 15 minutes with 3 minutes for questions at the end.

For the project report, you have four important submission dates (please refer to the sullabus). These include submissions of 1) project abstract (i.e., executive summary), 2) a list of cited references with the CRAP test*, 3) the first draft, and 4) the final report. The night before your presentation, presenting groups must post presentation slides on Blackboard, so the audience can print and bring them to the class. The audience should prepare questions to ask the presenting groups.

A hard copy and softcopy of your report and presentation will be due one week before the final exam. Please turn in one hardcopy per group and submit the softcopy to Blackboard. You will submit the individual performance evaluations separately on Blackboard.

The CRAP test is a way to evaluate a source based on the following criteria: Currency, Reliability, Authority, and Purpose/Point of View. Table 1 tabulates the details of the CRAP test. For each cited resource, you have to preform the CRAP test and the test results must be submitted.


Table 1. The CRAP test

Criteria Questions
Currency o How recent is the information?

o How recently has the website been updated?

o Is it current enough for your topic?

Reliability o What kind of information is included in the resource?

o Is the content of the resource primarily opinion?  It is balanced?

o Does the creator provide references or sources for data or quotations?

Authority o Who is the creator or author?

o What are the credentials?

o Who is the published or sponsor?

o Are they reputable?

o What is the publisher’s interest (if any) in this information?

o Are there advertisements on the website?

Purpose/Point of View o Is this fact or opinion?

o Is it biased?

o Is the creator/author trying to sell you something?






  1. Background (1-2 pages)
    1. Describe the area in terms of:
      1. Location
      2. Land area
  • Population and Culture
  1. Climate
  2. Natural resources (e.g. forest, water, biodiversity, plants, wildlife, minerals, etc)
  3. Facilities (e.g. housing, electricity, water supply, buildings, establishments, transportation, road networks, etc)
  • Economic activities (e.g. industries, farming, mining, tourism, etc)
  1. Pollution problems (1-2 pages)
    1. Show the problems by mentioning the environmental quality standards that were exceeded
      1. Air
      2. Water
  • Soil/land
  1. Noise
  2. Others
  1. Causes and sources of pollution (3-4 pages)
    1. Determine the causes and sources of pollution, why the contamination occurred
    2. Mention environmental principles that were violated
  2. Solutions being offered (1-2 pages)
    1. Determine the programs of the government or even the civil society in addressing the pollution problems
    2. Mention applicable environmental policies/laws
  3. Recommendations (1-3 pages)
    1. Comment on the environmental problems if the pollution is serious or not, if affecting a large number of population or not, mention applicable environmental principles or tools that could be used in the analysis
    2. Comment on the solutions if there are gaps, and if solutions being offered is adequate or not, effective or not, mention applicable environmental principles or tools that could be used in the analysis
    3. Recommend environmental engineering or practical solutions that should be considered to fill the gaps

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