Sanitary engineering is responsible for the area of hygiene and health in society . We must know that large urban agglomerations pose a potential risk of disease and therefore must be prevented. Furthermore, contamination and its consequent health risks is another reality that justifies the need for health management in a global sense.
The main idea of sanitary engineering is the analysis and planning of techniques that are adequate to control the health of the population.
Drinking water and diseases
Access to safe drinking water for health is a social advance of great relevance and possibly the most characteristic example of the importance of sanitary engineering. Water as a resource, its supply to the entire population and quality assurance allows the population not to suffer from a series of diseases known as waterborne diseases (dysentery or typhoid fever).
The sanitary engineer must know everything related to the processes that affect water: sewage systems, water treatment (desalting), potabilization, non-contaminating storage, etc.
The origin of sanitary engineering
The control of water and its subsequent treatment to prevent disease has a very specific historical precedent: the Roman sewage system (known as Cloaca Máxima). However, sanitary engineering emerged as a public health concept that acquired a new dimension in the 19th century, as soon as some scientific advances in microbiology appeared.
Sanitary engineering, a multidisciplinary area
The sanitary engineer aims at the health of the population. At the same time, other engineers are responsible for the society’s infrastructure project: civil engineers. In this way, the hydraulic engineer designs works related to water such as galleries or canals. On the other hand, the environmental engineer is fully related to the environment and is also responsible for water treatment. The concept of public health is another element that is linked to sanitary engineering, as mentioned above.
The interdisciplinary reality of sanitary engineering goes beyond its relationship with civil, environmental or public health engineering. In fact, the activity of the sanitary engineer is associated with other spheres: industrial hygiene, food hygiene, energy sector or cosmetic sector.