2023 Water Chemistry for Environmental Engineering

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Academic unit or major
Graduate major in Civil Engineering
Fujii Manabu 
Class Format
Lecture    (Face-to-face)
Media-enhanced courses
Day/Period(Room No.)
Tue5-6(W5-105)  Fri5-6(W5-105)  
Course number
Academic year
Offered quarter
Syllabus updated
Lecture notes updated
Language used
Access Index

Course description and aims

This lecture provides the knowledge and tools necessary to understand the chemical reaction processes (water chemistry) of various substances in water, mainly in natural water (rivers, lakes, marshes, seawater, etc.) and engineered water (drinking water, sewage water). In the first part of the course, students will learn about the basics of chemical reactions, such as equilibrium theory and reaction kinetics. Then, this lecture demonstrates “how can these chemical reactions be applied in the real world and environment?” by introducing some examples such as chlorine disinfection in water purification and organic pollutants in natural water as examples. In addition, through group discussions, we will organize the relationship between water chemistry and the challenges that humanity are facing, and discuss how water treatment and water infrastructure can contribute to such environmental and social problems. In this lecture, the basics of water chemistry will be covered, including thermodynamics, reaction kinetics, acid-base systems, and carbonate systems. Although there are some other important reactions (redox reactions, complexation reactions, etc.), this lecture does not directly deal with such developmental topics, but provides materials and other resources to support further learning according to students' requests.

Student learning outcomes

By taking this lecture, students will be able to acquire the following skills.
(1) Understand the basic concepts and theories governing reaction processes in water (equilibrium theory, reaction kinetics, non-ideal systems).
(2) Understand the various reaction processes (acid-base, disinfection reaction, etc.) that occur in natural and treated water.
(3) To be able to understand and propose approaches to solve various water-related challenges faced by humanity.


Water and wastewater treatment, water infrastructure, sustainability, equilibrium , kinetics, acid-base reactions

Competencies that will be developed

Specialist skills Intercultural skills Communication skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills

Class flow

A small quiz and homework (report) will be given every time in the class.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 Introductory matters of Water Chemistry such as concentration unit Understand overlapping neighborhoods of water chemistry and units used in this field.
Class 2 History of Water Infrastructure and interaction with Water Chemistry To understand the significance of water chemistry in context of water and environmental engineering and water infrastructure history
Class 3 The thermodynamic basis for equilibrium Understand reaction and energy relationship.
Class 4 Disinfection with Chlorine in Water Treatment Understand the reaction mechanism of chlorine and disinfection byproducts in water treatment.
Class 5 Characterization of ideal and non-ideal systems Understand activity-concentration relationship and effect of ionic strength on the relationship.
Class 6 Current problems and future challenge of water environment Understand approaches to solving various problems and issues related to the water environment.
Class 7 Fundamentals of chemical kinetics Understand expression and solving technique of elemental and multiple kinetic reactions.
Class 8 Review and exercise on fundamental water chemistry Deepen understanding of the fundamentals of water chemistry through review and practice.
Class 9 Acid-base and carbonate systems 1 Understand the relationships between pH and acid dissociation equilibrium.
Class 10 Acid-base and carbonate systems 2 Understand the relationship among carbonate, alkalinity and pH.
Class 11 Acid-base and carbonate systems 3 Deepen understanding of acid-base equilibrium and carbonate chemistry through exercises.
Class 12 Water science and technology for “The Challenges of Humanity” 1 Students will understand the relationship between water chemistry and the challenges facing humanity.
Class 13 Water science and technology for “The Challenges of Humanity” 3 Students will understand the relationship between water chemistry and the challenges facing humanity.
Class 14 Water science and technology for “The Challenges of Humanity” 3 Understand an approach to solving the water-related problems that humanity is facing.

Out-of-Class Study Time (Preparation and Review)

To enhance effective learning, students are encouraged to spend approximately 100 minutes preparing for class and another 100 minutes reviewing class content afterwards (including assignments) for each class.
They should do so by referring to textbooks and other course material.


Water Chemistry: An Introduction to the Chemistry of Natural and Engineered Aquatic Systems, Oxford Univ Pr, 2011

Reference books, course materials, etc.

Big World, Small Planet: Abundance Within Planetary Boundaries, Johan Rockström, Mattias Klum, Yale University Press, 2015

Assessment criteria and methods

Evaluated by small assignments during the lecture as well as review and exercise (70%) and examination (30%)

Related courses

  • CVE.G402 : Environmental Statistics
  • CVE.G401 : Aquatic Environmental Science
  • GEG.E412 : Hydrology and Water Resources Conservation
  • GEG.E502 : Environmental Hydraulics
  • GEG.E411 : Atmospheric Environment in Megacities
  • GEG.E511 : Socio-ecological systems in changing global and local environments
  • GEG.E401 : Global Environmental System and Ecosystem Dynamics
  • CVE.B311 : River Engineering
  • CVE.G310 : Water Environmental Engineering
  • CVE.G230 : Environmental Planning Project

Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)

No prerequisites

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