Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Can a Mechanical Engineer do this? Water Industry

  1. Aug 7, 2010 #1
    Can a Mechanical Engineer design:

    -Pump Stations
    -Water/Waste Treatment Plants
    -Piping design for water distribution system

    It seems like the mechanical engineer can only do like equipment selection and installation which sounds real boring.

    Can an ME design what i mentioned?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 8, 2010 #2


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    Normally water/waste water systems would part of civil engineering. A mechanical engineer could do piping systems and the other activities decribed.

    There are codes and standards with which one must be familiar.
  4. Aug 8, 2010 #3
    How would you describe a Mechanical Engineers role in the water industry?
  5. Aug 8, 2010 #4


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    Well, a mechanical engineering could design pumps, piping, or structures such as those supporting the water production/treatment system.

    Structural engineering is another area of specialization, but often it stand alone or part of civil engineering. Civil engineering is really mechanical engineering applied to structures such as buildings, bridges, dams, locks, water and waste water distribution.

    Mechanical engineering is thought of more along the lines of machinery, e.g., pumps, compressors, turbomachinery, engines (primemovers), mechanical transmissions, . . . . , or in general energy conversion systems.

    Mechanical engineers study fluid mechanics/dynamics, heat transfer, thermodynamics, . . . .

    I would add that there are common elements shared among mechanical, civil, and other disciplines within engineering.

    I'd recommend exploring the mechanical and civil engineering societies:

    www.asme.org - American Society of Mechanical Engineers
    www.asce.org - American Society of Civil Engineers
    www.awwa.org/ - American Water Works Association
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2010
  6. Aug 8, 2010 #5
    Thanks man, appreciate your time.

    But theres something im having a tough time grasping. Mechanical Engineers are heavily related to plant construction/layout, where the equipment will be installed within the structure etc. Doesn't that overlap into water works?

    We study fluid/hydraulic systems, we have that general knowledge of these processes.

    I've compared curriculums and the only difference between a civil engineer and ME in terms of being a candidate for a water engineering job related to what im describing is one or two classes depending the school.

    Btw, im just someone whos interested in utility engineering. I've already worked with an Electric Power Company and wanted to gain insight into Water Works.
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2010
  7. Aug 21, 2010 #6
    Mechanical engineers can involve themselves in nearly all aspects of hydraulic design that you have described. Most of this knowledge is acquired "on the job" in either case; it is not typically material that is picked up in school. In this situation, the degree you hold doesn't matter as much as what you know.
  8. Aug 21, 2010 #7
    How can one find a job that would accept ME's? it seems that they only look for Civil Engineers.
  9. Aug 25, 2010 #8
    You guys would recommend for me to stick in Mechanical Engineering and not switch to CE?
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook