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  Erik R. Coats, P.E., Ph.D.
  Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering


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office: Buchanan Engineering Lab, rm. 129

Twitter: @E_Coats

Past President of the Pacific NW Clean Water Association


875 Perimeter Dr.


Moscow, ID 83844-1022


607 Urquhart Drive


Moscow, ID 83844-1022




Environmental engineers study, plan, design, and facilitate construction of infrastructure to:

  • Protect the environment from various human activities;

  • Provide safe drinking water to the public; and

  • Receive and process wastewater, generating products that can be returned to the environment safely.

The University of Idaho Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering maintains a strong Environmental Engineering undergraduate and graduate curriculum, with complementary research capabilities.

The UI Civil Engineering curriculum prepares students to work on a wide array of environmental engineering projects including but not limited to water and wastewater treatment, surface water quality, site remediation, ground water contamination cleanup, landfill infrastructure, and wetlands/water quality improvement. Our students complete a rigorous junior-level curriculum that includes fundamental of environmental engineering (CE330), hydraulics (CE322), and hydrology (CE325). Students specifically interested in emphasizing environmental engineering then can take Design of Water and Wastewater Systems I and II (CE431/511 and CE432/532), Water Quality Management (CE433), Engineering Hydrology (CE421), Hydraulic Structures Analysis and Design (CE422); all these courses satisfy our technical design requirements necessary to earn a CE degree. Most important, at a professional level civil engineering graduates ultimately lead in the design of environmental engineering systems.

With environmental engineering faculty who actively collaborate across disciplines both inside and outside the UI, graduate students have access to a wide array of classes and research infrastructure. Research is cutting edge and highly relevant in the water-environment sector, with a particular emphasis on microbial processes for resource recovery and wastewater-byproducts treatment.

Dr. Coats' graduate student cohort, past and present, have conducted a wide range of exciting research, have published extensively in peer-reviewed journals (see Publications link), and have presented their research at an array of conferences. Dr. Coats' group regularly contributes at the Pacific NW Clean Water Association annual conference ( More importantly, Dr. Coats' graduate students are well represented in the water-environment sector, continuing to make professional contributions in environmental engineering.


As an environmental engineering professor, I have over 27 years of experience in both academia and the private sector. Prior to joining UI I worked 13 years as a consulting engineer, and I continue to be active in the applied side of my profession. I have been a licensed Professional Civil Engineer since 1995, and am currently licensed in Idaho, Washington, and Oregon.

University of Idaho, Moscow, ID, 83844