ENVT4461 Assessing Environmental Quality

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
This unit gives students a basis for assessing the state of, and human impacts on, various environments. Students learn the different types of pollutants that enter the environment and transport pathways to environmental and human receptors, as well as the potential for attenuation to occur. Natural and agricultural catchments, urban land, aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems and air quality are discussed. Through case studies, guest lectures from environmental practitioners and a field trip, students will learn the fundamental processes affecting pollutant fate in different environments. Students will also work with practical aspects of environmental quality assessment, including design of sampling programs, analysis of samples, management of data and application of statistical methods for testing hypotheses. The course will result in both a solid grounding in the fundamental controls on pollutant mobility vs attenuation and the practical skills to gather and interpret site-specific data. The result will be a strong basis for formulating conceptual site models, which in turn is key for assessing environmental risk and environmental management.
Students are able to (1) discuss the diverse types of pollutants that threaten environmental quality, and understand environmental controls on their transport and fate; (2) demonstrate an understanding of sampling design and laboratory analysis for appropriate environmental data collection ; (3) critically appraise such data using appropriate statistical methods such as ANOVA and regression analysis; (4) evaluate environmental information quantitatively in a way that allows impact to be assessed; and (5) produce environmental assessment reports with conceptual site models as a basis for source-pathway-receptor analysis of environmental risk.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) a portfolio of short assignments based on laboratory activities, computer tutorials and lectures; (2) report on collection and synthesis of environmental data to inform a conceptual site model and sampling plan; and (3) a detailed report on environmental assessment based on applying the statistical and plotting techniques to an environmental data set. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Andrew Rate and Dr Deirdre Gleeson
Unit rules
ENVT3361 Environmental Assessment
Contact hours
lectures: 1 hour per week; practical classes: 4 hours per week (one practical session involves field work)
Unit Outline
Semester 1-2020 [SEM-1-2020]
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available via the Booktopia Textbook Finder, which has the functionality to search by course code, course, ISBN and title, and may also be posted or available at the appropriate school's administrative offices. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.