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RCL Career Resources Engineering and Technology: Environmental Technologies

RCL Environmental Technologies + Choice Titles

Satisfied with your drinking water? Gray notes that consumers of some of the highest quality drinking water are unhappy with it. From his base at the University of Dublin, Gray describes the structure, regulation, and operation of an experienced and diversified water supply industry in the UK and Ireland. Gray addresses water quality problems and solutions in a concise but inclusive survey that integrates British, European, US, and World Health Organization standards into an essential guide for undergraduate and graduate students in environmental science or engineering. From the construction of the water industry, through water management, treatment, storage, and distribution, this truly interdisciplinary book addresses the problems and details the solutions to chemical, biological, and even geographical challenges. Current public health concerns such as water hardness, pathogens, pesticides, and electrochemical corrosion are summarized and referenced for further study. Although the convenience of piped water is only universal in a minority of the world's countries, safe drinking water cannot be guaranteed in any country and improvement is costly but necessary. Highly recommended. Undergraduate through professional; two-year technical program students. This review refers to an earlier edition.

--R. M. Ferguson, Eastern Connecticut State University

Outstanding Academic Title

This succinct, well-polished book discusses electricity production from ocean waves and tides. Lynn (formerly, Imperial College London, UK) begins by providing a general introduction on waves and tides, along with historical background. The following two chapters cover wave and tide energy basics, and electricity generation using AC generators and connecting this generated electricity to the grid. The remaining two chapters present case studies on existing wave and tidal energy converters. The book reads very easily, and is accompanied with numerous appropriately placed, high-quality figures that make the flow of the text smooth and understandable. Chapter 3, "Generating Electricity," is particularly important as it gives a big-picture overview of technical aspects of electricity generation and grid connection with which some in the wave and tide energy business may not be very familiar. The author indicates that the book is a collection of materials from different resources, but he has carefully chosen and organized the topics in a way that makes the book a stand-alone introduction to this rapidly growing topic. Valuable to anyone with an interest in ocean wave and tide energy, from students to professionals and policy makers. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All students, researchers/faculty, professionals/practitioners, and informed general audiences.

--M. Alam, University of California, Berkeley

Though dozens of books on persistent organic pollutants (POPs) have been published in the last two to three decades, often focusing on specific concerns, remediation, related diseases, and global issues, this work, edited by O'Sullivan (Mount Royal Univ., Canada) and Sandau (Chemistry Matters, Inc.) is an up-to-date report on the topic, supported by hundreds of references. The numerous examples provided will allow interested students and scientists to quickly learn about POPs, biomonitoring, and the most common analytical methods used for sample collection, purification, and analysis (most often using gas or liquid chromatography and often coupled to mass spectrometry). Chapters are devoted to specific issues related to the fate of POPs in the atmosphere, on land, and in aquatic and urban environments. The book also discusses regulations and aspects of litigation in the US and Canada, as well as international measures to control these compounds. Overall, the editors and contributors do a good job of describing a very rapidly growing field from all sides, starting with early insecticides, including Aldrin and DDT. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above.

--J. Allison, The College of New Jersey

Gottlieb intends that this work help researchers find the proper technology to solve environmental problems. Internet resources, which make up the majority of the citations, are grouped into four categories--control, remediation, assessment, and prevention. The citations summarize what is available on the Web site, list main resources offered, and give contact information. The premise is interesting--making it possible to locate the most important element of a particular Web site without having to wade through the site itself. The work's strongest element is its gathering many important, carefully studied Internet resources in one useful source. Since Web sites are revamped or discontinued with such speed, this work will become obsolete very quickly. Although it is more difficult to find the information, OCLC's WorldCat also abstracts most of the sites included and provides some of the same information. The shelf life of this work coupled with its high price will make it most useful to those libraries with very large environmental studies and environmental engineering programs. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and environmental practitioners.

--J. C. Stachacz, Dickinson College

Fricke (Univ. of Würzburg, Germany) and Borst (Texas Tech Univ.) authored two editions of a German text, Energie, in the 1980s. This book, derived from the German volume, is basically a college textbook, but it is written in a way that also makes it useful for energy professionals. The topic is relevant to various fields including engineering, materials science, chemistry, and physics. The book's 16 chapters discuss numerous energy sources and energy "transport, storage, and conservation," as the subtitle indicates. Providing economical and affordable energy for industrial and residential use is a significant task when there are so many sources to consider--fossil fuels, nuclear power, and renewable/alternative energy sources such as wind, solar, biomass, wave/tidal, and geothermal. Each energy technology has unique pluses and minuses. The authors explain these technologies using straightforward examples with mathematical treatment, requiring readers to comprehend algebra and some calculus to follow them. Real-world examples of the myriad types of energy converters are particularly useful. Numerous illustrations support the text. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through professionals/practitioners; two-year technical program students.

--J. C. Comer, emeritus, Northern Illinois University

This volume, part of the "SAGE Series on Green Society," provides detailed definitions of many new terms associated with the fast-widening "green" movement. Entries explain new technologies such as light-emitting diodes, hybrid electric vehicles, composting toilets, and solar cells. Many articles define the larger topics, such as the concepts and frameworks of this field, and how green technology relates to larger issues of society. Essays vary in length, ranging from two to ten pages; all have bibliographies for those interested in further information. References that appear in the entries, along with an additional list of resources, point to recent relevant material, including websites, books, and articles. Many of the longer items discuss the more general overall concepts; they include "Bioethics," "Ecological Modernization," "Unintended Consequences," and "Technology Transfer." Shorter ones, e.g., "Greywater," "Algae Biofuel," and "Solar Ovens," tend to cover a particular product or biological process. A brief (eight-page) glossary gives concise explanations for unfamiliar terms. Illustrations appear sparsely, always in black and white. Numerous cross-references are provided after each article. Finally, comprehensive, detailed indexing makes the volume even easier to use. This title furnishes useful information in understanding this rapidly developing field. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates through professionals/practitioners; general readers.

--M. S. Muskiewicz, University of Massachusetts at Lowell

Nyer's book applies new technologies and existing engineering methods to the treatment of contaminated ground water. Treatment following ground water withdrawal as well as in situ treatment is covered, with emphasis on the former. Nyer first provides information basic to the application of treatment technologies-treatment parameters such as flow, influent concentration, and discharge requirements; he then discusses life-cycle design with information on determining capital cost and operator expenses. Physical and chemical treatment methods for organic contaminants are addressed next-including design considerations for pure compound removal, air stripping, and carbon adsorption. Other treatment methods are discussed: biological treatment methods for organic contaminants; and treatment methods for inorganic compounds (including the processes of chemical addition, removal of suspended solids, ion exchange, reverse osmosis, electrodialysis, and distillation). There are five case studies on field application of design methods. The case studies address treatment strategies used in removing gasoline, phenol, isopropanol, and other contaminants. A possible textbook for upper-division undergraduate or graduate environmental engineering classes; also, because of its applications orientation, it would be of value to practicing environmental engineers, hydrogeologists, chemists, and microbiologists. This review refers to an earlier edition.

--L. Canter, University of Oklahoma


The demand for fossil fuels in industrial countries has remained relatively unchanged over the past few years, but speedy industrialization of developing countries has generated a substantial market for them.  In addition, fossil fuels will be needed for transportation and in the industrial and residential/commercial sectors for many years.  This updated edition (1st ed., 2007) begins with a global review of energy consumption and production.  A comprehensive review of available alternative fuel sources from nontraditional feedstocks follows.  Each chapter presents background information and an excellent overview of technologies to produce the fuel.  The book discusses coal gasification; liquid fuel from coal, natural gas, and oil sand; coal slurry fuel; shale gas; and shale oil.  Fuel from biomass is another focus.  The discussion ranges from corn and lignocellulosic ethanol to biodiesel, algae fuel, and thermochemical conversion of biomass.  The inclusion of these topics along with the latest developments in each area is very timely because they are becoming of more interest to both researchers and energy industry professionals.  The last four chapters discuss other fuel sources, namely energy from waste sources, geothermal and nuclear energy, and fuel cells.  A common thread linking all these sources is their continuous availability. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above.

--J. Tavakoli, Lafayette College

This is a substantial attempt to embrace ecotoxicology as an evolving discipline, although, contrary to the preface, it is hardly "new." Indeed, one of the strengths is its excellent historical coverage. However, a corresponding weakness is the prevailing lack of current references (this book must have been in production for many years, since many chapters have only one or two references after 1991). But it is a history worth telling. One thinks of a handbook as a convenient compendium of information and methods, so this is hardly a handbook. It is, however, an assemblage of valuable chapters on many aspects of pollutants and the environment, and it covers most topics. It is hard to single out the most valuable of the 34 chapters. The convergence between ecotoxicology and ecological risk assessment has yet to be bridged, and one chapter introduces the reader to EPA's version of ecological risk assessment. There are, of course, far too many aspects in ecotoxicology to fit between two covers, and this reviewer would have wanted more on the global transport of mercury, but the general "global disposition" chapter was excellent and thought-provoking. Similarly, the growing impact of organotin deserves attention, and given the growing importance of ecological effects at former nuclear weapons sites, a whole volume could be devoted to radioecology. Many thought-provoking chapters on novel areas; valuable case studies. Chapters vary in technical detail and hence accessibility to nontechnical readers. Informed general readers; upper-division undergraduate through professional; two-year technical program students. This review refers to an earlier edition.

--J. Burger, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick

Manahan appears to have intended his book for readers curious about or with responsibilities in regard to hazardous wastes, but with little or none of the technical background required to act intelligently in regard to them. Thus, the book's logical organization consists of a highly compressed introduction to chemistry and environmental science; a survey of the fundamental properties of hazardous materials (inorganic, organic, and biological); and a survey of waste management strategies, beginning with minimization and progressing through recycling, treatment, and disposal. Each major section occupies a third of the book and suffers significantly from the attempt to cram the irreducible fundamentals of complex technical subjects into about 120 pages of text. Experts in any of the myriad fields touched upon will cringe at the truncated treatments, but this book can serve as a starting point for more thorough study. Manahan's style is telegraphic but honest and well informed. Literature citations are current through 1990. In the index, single-entry citations proliferate at the expense of logic and clarity; it is obviously the product of a "dumb" word-processing program. Manahan has made a heroic effort to condense a complex and difficult, but important, body of knowledge for the benefit of the less informed. Recommended with these reservations for community college, public, and legal libraries.

--T. R. Blackburn, St. Andrews Presbyterian College

Hydrofracking, by journalist/author Prud'homme (The Ripple Effect, CH, Dec'11, 49-2082), is primarily light reading for general readers; it might also serve as a supplemental resource for an introductory, nontechnical course on the subject. The mediocre discussion of this recently developed technical field may be beneficial to some students learning about petroleum production from shale formations. Most useful are the point/counterpoint discussions on the pros and cons of fracking; this content may be a source for student debates. Thoughts about the future of fracking and "beyond hydrofracking" round out the book, but this is, of course, only speculation, although it may foster good class discussions. The brief glossary may help some audiences. Very few of the references appear to be from technical sources, but instead are mostly from conventional news outlets. The references section lists numerous industry websites for readers to explore this topic further. Summing Up: Recommended. With reservations. General audiences and lower-division undergraduates.

--M. S. Field, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Dam if you do, dam if you don't! (Pun intended.) In this dense little book, Everard (sustainability and ecosystems professional; Common Ground, CH, Apr'12, 49-4471) presents the broadening debate on water resources management, showing that neither heavy structural (engineering) approaches nor ecosystem-based ones are the one-and-only solutions. Nowadays, with the reality of climate change and the large uncertainty in spatial rainfall redistribution, the world needs a more enlightened way to share water resources equitably and sustainably, considering people and nature. The book is in three sections. The first section deals with the traditional engineering approach to dams and its problems. It is a well-written review of the subject and takes up about half of the book. The second section describes science- and policy-based alternative approaches to water resources management. The third section introduces conceptual frameworks and decision-support tools for connecting the nonstructural approaches supporting ecosystem processes with structural ones that implement technological innovation/ingenuity. This mixed model is the one that Everard proposes for developing a more sustainable form of hydropolitics around the world. One particular strength of this book is the many examples of problems and solutions from various countries. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All students, researchers/faculty, professionals/practitioners, and general readers.

--E. Gomezdelcampo, Bowling Green State University

Power generation is a challenging social issue. The global demand for energy doubled between 1965 and 2005, mostly due to increasing consumption in developing countries. As the main energy sources are fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas), growing scientific evidence warns against their negative environmental impacts, drawing attention to renewable sources, solar energy in particular. In Lights On!, prolific science writer/theoretical physicist Denny explains the history of power generation and presents important facts about renewable energy. The book starts with the basic definitions and discussions of energy and power. The next two chapters focus on sources of power and power transmission. A historical review of coal, oil, and natural gas production and use with emphasis on their importance in modern societies as well as their environmental impacts follows. Three chapters cover renewable energy sources including water, wind, solar, and nuclear (!). The last is included in the renewable category due to enriched uranium's long life-span as an energy source. The book concludes with the notion that in the interest of short- and long-term demand, a mix of these energy types should be utilized for power generation. The examples provided will help readers understand complex concepts. Summing Up: Recommended. All students, researchers/faculty, and general readers.

--J. Tavakoli, Lafayette College

The 15th edition of this well-known reference (14th ed., CH, Jun'07, 44-5373) now features 10,000-plus monographs covering 18,000 chemical substances, along with 50,000 synonyms. More than 500 monographs have been added since the 14th edition; 3,500-plus entries feature updated information and data. Nonproprietary name stems for pharmaceuticals now appear in the little-known but valuable "Supplemental Tables." More than 500 organic named reactions are listed--an increase of 50. In addition to the name index, other indexes include those for CAS Registry Numbers, formulas, and therapeutic and biological activity. Alongside pharmaceuticals, coverage includes, when available, biological agents, laboratory chemicals, and commercial chemicals. Entries include chemical or material name, synonyms, trade names, CAS Registry Number, molecular weight, molecular formula/analysis, toxicity data or references, and references to preparation and patent data. Purchase of a personal copy includes a one-year gratis subscription to an accompanying website with more than 11,500 monographs, updated quarterly.

"Quick" searching of the Web version can be done by name, molecular weight, or molecular formula. The primary search function enables searching for most any data or information element in the file, including CAS Registry Number, therapeutic uses, manufacturer, and all data elements--either exact or by range. Structure searching--exact, substructure, or similarity--is enabled. The 15th edition does not have the complementary CD that accompanied the 14th. Although the print edition was prepared by the same Merck editing staff as the previous edition, the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) has taken over further editing, production, and publishing. A staple for over a century, The Merck Index is a crucial resource for a wide range of scientists and students. Libraries may well want the online version. For institutional pricing (or for continuing personal Web access), users should contact the RSC. Summing Up: Essential. Lower-level undergraduates and above; general readers.

--R. E. Buntrock, formerly, University of Maine

The rapid growth of environmental assessments of contaminated sites has given rise to a booming industry in need of trained professionals. However, good course textbooks to supplement lectures are lacking. Lecomte's book fulfills this need very nicely at the undergraduate level. It is written at a fairly elementary level with the intent of defining broad principles in an organized manner and supplemented by numerous case histories, although from a European perspective. Chapters lay the groundwork by describing and classifying contaminated sites; describe pollution diagnosis; and discuss likely risks posed by a contaminated site. The discussion of site remediation technologies in chapter 5 is a nice overview of a rapidly developing field of engineering and science. Appropriately, it is the most extensive chapter in the book. Chapter 6 offers an overly brief discussion of remediation costs relating to the role of investments and insurance, which is the focus of chapter 8. Chapter 7 discusses legal requirements from a European point of view and will only be minimally useful to those in the US. For its cost, this book is an excellent resource for students studying the evaluation of contaminated sites. Upper-division undergraduates and up.

--M. S. Field, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Sustainable Design by Vallero and Brasier (both, Duke Univ.) has an odd selection of topics that are either irrelevant or only tangentially relevant to the subject of the book. Forces and moments are defined but never used. Kinetic energy is computed for an aerosol particle emitted by a smokestack. Fluid pressure is defined with no potential application. Surface tension is related to the permeation of water through building materials, but the authors only mention the application briefly. The book confuses green engineering with environmental engineering. The latter focuses on pollution, the former more on resources. Tables of densities of fluids (e.g., carbon disulfide) or ionic content of river or seawater do not have a place here. These concepts can be used, but the connection is not made. Pollution cases such as Donora, Love Canal, and Bhopal are interesting, but again the connection is tenuous. The concept of mass balance is finally, and too briefly, covered in chapter 4 (in a section mislabeled "thermodynamics"). Material and energy balance and life cycle assessment should be the major focus of the book, and they are not. Summing Up: Not recommended.

--D. A. Vaccari, Stevens Institute of Technology

Butler (Imperial College, London) and Davies (Coventry Univ., UK) offer a well written book containing a great deal of historical information about the development of urban drainage within the UK. It covers appropriate topics, including the public health and design aspects of combined sewers and sanitary sewer systems. The interesting elements within this book are installation, repair, and maintenance of sewers; for example, there currently are very few books that even discuss the bedding factors for installation of sewers. This book is a basic work that will be valuable to environmental engineers who are not planning to specialize in urban drainage but need exposure to this particular element of engineering. Easy to read, this book contains both elementary information and interesting problems for upper-division undergraduate students majoring in civil engineering. This review refers to an earlier edition.

--R. P. Carnahan, University of South Florida