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Basics of Municipal Engineering
Municipal engineering deals with many fields concerned with city planning and maintenance. This should not be confused with urban design because urban engineering involves planning the layouts of the streets and placement of buildings and other public places. Engineering for municipal services involves planning, designing, and maintaining the water and drainage systems, the transportation systems, and taking into consideration the various factors like the natural level of the local water table, what dangers the city may be exposed to, and the soil and underlying geological conditions. Urban designing is like designing the body of a car and municipal engineering is like making the entire car, right from the smallest component to the biggest, work the way it was intended to.
Waste management, managing water services, hydrology, and providing engineering in vulnerable zones are some of the major responsibilities of municipal engineers.
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The condition of soil and the condition of the water table are studies initially done before the first bricks are laid for building the city. This initial phase will prove to be the most important phase in ensuring the safety of people who will reside in the area for years, or perhaps centuries, to come.
This series of five articles covers the basics of soil mechanics and should be of interest to those in the geotechnical and civil engineering fields, as well as agriculturists.
The study of hydrology includes a variety of topics on management of water resources, including what the term "100 year flood" means, the steps of the water cycle, understanding the water cycle diagram, and how to predict when a flood crest will reach a town. There are three articles in this series.
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To keep a city clean, waste must be disposed of properly. Waste in the form of garbage, household wastes, and human wastes should be taken far away from city where it can be processed. To carry the wastes to the edges of the city, proper sewage systems have to be implemented. Even the early Romans understood the importance of proper sewage and drainage systems, and records show that their drainage systems were impressive even by today's standards.
Other ways of keeping the city clean is by sweeping the streets and making sure that garbage trucks do their duty. Here are a few resources with which you can learn more about waste management and why it is essential to a city’s functioning.
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Water is an important resource for every living being. It is the responsibility of the municipality to provide the people of the city with purified water devoid of any harmful substances. Although this may seem simple, some very complex planning and maintenance goes in making sure that every house in the city is provided with clean water. The engineers who are responsible for this take care of a variety of jobs. They design and maintain the water treatment plants, make sure that the water is not polluted, and make sure water is provided to the residents throughout the year.
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Municipal Engineering in Vulnerable Zones
Not every city can be built on stable plains. Cities are built on hills, in earthquake prone areas, on or near coastal areas, and in other landscapes of various descriptions. Designing cities in such places requires meticulous planning and taking into account the various dangers posed by nature to the residents living in such areas.
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The Future of Municipal Engineering
From the Romans to the 21st century, things have changed a lot. With the advancement in technology, certain things have only gotten worse, for instance, the climatic conditions. The drastic changes in the climatic patterns across the world has lea to a growing awareness of global warming and its effects. Modern municipal engineers take this seriously and are slowly moving forward in making every municipal service ecologically friendly and green.
Going Green in Communities (in the Green Living Channel)
- Author's personal experience and linked articles.