Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue

CE 481 Creates Preliminary Designs for CEC’s project with the Knoxville Zoo for the Elephant Exhibit

CE 481 is the Environmental Engineering II class focused on Water and Wastewater Engineering. The students learn how to design water and wastewater treatment processes for municipal and industrial waters. This year, a unique project appeared for James Tomiczek and Ivan Cooper at CEC, a civil and environmental consulting company in Knoxville.

The Knoxville Zoo needed to restructure the way water is provided to and disposed of for the elephant bathing, drinking, and playing ponds. Department head Chris Cox set up a meeting, and after approval from Lisa New, President and CEO of Knoxville Zoo, my class got to work.

First they began doing research on Elephant enclosures. Before the students began doing design work, they had the opportunity to do a behind the scenes tour of the elephant enclosure to look at the pond and get a better understanding of the project. While at the zoo, they also got to see the water/wastewater treatment techniques for the new Tiger and Gibbon exhibits, and the Beaver exhibit. They were all very excited to get a look at multiple treatment techniques currently employed by the Zoo.

The class was divided into three groups of five and were only given very basic information. A water sample from the pond was also processed by the CE 482 class, Environmental Engineering Lab, which all students in CE 481 take concurrently. This allowed them to get an idea of the water quality that they would need to treat and provided additional real-world applications to this project. This is a real design project that CEC will begin designing within the year in conjunction with the Knoxville Zoo. We were able to provide CEC with some preliminary ideas for their future design choices that will likely be made within the year. The students presented their final designs to CEC on April 26, 2018.

This project would not have been possible without the help of CEC’s James Tomiczek and Ivan Cooper, CEE Department Head Chris Cox, and Knoxville Zoo’s Lisa New and Shane Chester. The students were very excited to have a real-life problem to use for design work, and greatly appreciate the opportunity provided to them.

By Kristen Wyckoff, Lecturer