Courses Catalogue

Public Health Engineering

ACADEMIC PROGRAMME: Civil Engineering, Bsc
COLLEGE/SCHOOL/FACULTY: School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
PROGRAMME TYPE: Undergraduate

Course Description


The course introduces sanitary engineering, in which the relationship between diseases, disease vectors and transmission routes are studied as well as engineering barriers to counter communicable disease transmission. The course covers: solid and hazardous waste management and its functional elements, i.e., generation, temporary storage, collection, transportation, treatment including recycling and ultimate disposal; water and wastewater quality characteristics / assessment – the physical, chemical and bacteriological quality parameters and their relevance in ensuring public health; and, onsite and sewered sanitation. Onsite sanitation covers the design and management of different types of non-water borne sanitation systems (traditional pit latrines and improved latrines, ROEC, compost latrines), water borne sanitation systems (aquaprivy, vaults, cesspools, septic tanks and pour flush toilets) and dry urine diverting ecological sanitation (ecosan) systems. Sewered sanitation covers the planning, design, operation and maintenance of waste stabilisation ponds (WSPs) for wastewater treatment and conventional wastewater treatment plants. Lastly, the course introduces self-purification in surface water bodies and an introduction to planning of water supply systems.




The course is aimed at using the knowledge of science and engineering in preventing diseases, prolonging life and promoting human health through organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations, public and private, communities and individuals.


By the end of this course, the student should be able to:

·        Discuss the importance of environmental sanitation and interventions to prevent spread of infectious / communicable diseases.

·        Assess basic water quality characteristics.

·        Design interventions in solid and hazardous waste management.

·        Relate water and wastewater quality characteristics and their importance in ensuring good public health.

·        Outline the various factors affecting the choice of a sanitation options and be able to plan and design sanitation technology options in any given situation (rural, urban, semi/peri-urban areas, low-lying areas; rocky and collapsing formations; the poor, middle income and the rich).





A student on completing this course is expected to:

·        Choose appropriate drinking water treatment technology and design small and medium water supply systems for rural communities.

·        Enumerate the factors affecting choice of a wastewater treatment system, understand the design and operating principles of sewerage and therefore be able to follow the procedure of planning and designing sewerage systems.

·        Explain how natural self-purification processes impact on water quality and the environmental factors that can be manipulated to improve the situation.