Water and Environmental Engineering

Water and Environmental Engineering research at Aalto University

  • takes advantage of the digitalization, including data explosion, digital modelling, and sensor and remote sensing technologies and is experienced with utilizing advanced sensor data in environmental applications
  • exploits open big data on water resources along with various types of social, economic and environmental information.
  • relies on the state-of-the-art in multidimensional models, adaptable to a range of spatial and temporal scales (ranging  from soil pore and flashy urban runoff processes to regional and global water assessments and multi-decadal studies)
  • addresses grade global societal challenges and opportunities, including appearance of emerging pollutants in soil and water and applying advanced new materials and biotechnological solutions for their control, urbanization and smart water management, food security and finding solutions to decrease resource scarcity, as well as circular economy to address over-consumption of resources
  • has studied extensively governance and policy frameworks related to water management, and the key role of institutions and power in shaping the water-related solutions and challenges

Our Master’s Programme in Water and Environmental Engineering


Research infrastructure

Water and Environmental Engineering researchers have a broad competence and equipment for water and soil sample analyses in the field and in a laboratory as well as in a pilot hall. The pilot hall can be set up for several kinds of test trials. The pilot hall has also two rooms that can be set up to constant temperatures from 0 to 40 ⁰C. Analysis methods are based on SFS and ISO standards.


Inside the laboratory, basic water sample analyses include pH, conductivity, turbidity and solids as well as nutrients ­– phosphorous and nitrogen. Phosphorous and nitrogen analyses are mainly conducted using the FIA technique (NO2, NO2+NO3, NH4) and total nitrogen can be analysed either with Ganimede N equipment or the Kjelldahl method. The laboratory also has ammonium and nitrate detectors. Different manual spectrophotometric measurements can be done with UV/VIS spectrophotometer. The laboratory is also equipped with several burettes for titration (COD, hardness etc.). Organic carbon is analysed from liquid samples using a TOC analysator. Gas chromatography, different microscopes and a luminometer are permanent fixtures in the laboratory's analysis infrastructure. Sludge analyses include capillary suction times.

Soil samples are analysed in terms of water content and organic matter, but also bulk and fine-grained soil densities and hydraulic conductivity can be measured. Furthermore, the water retention values and curves (pF curve) can be measured and drawn, as well as measuring granularity and extracting nutrients from soil samples.

For field surveys, researchers have access to several detectors, for example for pH, redox, conductivity, turbidity, solids and oxygen. It is also possible to analyse flow rates and the hydraulic conductivity of soil.

Water sampling is possible either with a traditional Ruttner sampler or with automatised systems. Soil samples are collected with various augers and cylinders.