Waste Management Engineering
First of all, there is no such thing as waste. In the process of making things, we also create byproducts. If the byproduct has no value, it is a waste product -- but everything has some value -- so let's call it "undervalued byproduct"
Engineering Program Areas
The Mascot of Waste Management Engineers is the Dung Beetle. Like the dung beetle, engineers find ways to give value to the undervalued byproducts. The three main program areas in waste management engineering are:
Waste materials are tough to handle. They can have the consistency of a liquid, a slurry, a semi-solid, or a solid. No matter the consistency, they can be abbrasive, corrosive, sticky, and usually a little smelly. In this program area, we explore the basic characteristics of materials, and figure out how to move, store, mix, separate, settle, and supend the materials.
Waste products are handled in systems consisting of production, treatment, storage, and utilization subsystems. In this program area, we give managers the tools to properly operate waste handling systems. This area also includes the environmental impacts of waste handling, and regulations covering the safe operation of systems.
Treatment is the transformation of byproducts to make them easier to handle, less noxious, and better suited for other uses. Some treatment technologies we are working on in Oklahoma include composting, vermicomposting, and anaerobic digestion.
Other Waste Management Web Resources at Oklahoma State
Some other websites dealing with waste management include:
Manure Utilization website in Plant and Soil Science.
Municipal Solid Waste website in Agricultural Economics