Cases, scenarios and role plays, some with commentary, focusing on problems relating to the environment, sustainability, and safety. These cases are housed in our Case Database but are listed here for simplified topical searching.
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  • This case includes handouts for 4 teams, each with hidden agendas, to be used in class discussion. It is also accompanied by a companion presentation on "The Environmental Implications of Biotechnology." The case concerns the City of L’Acide that has contracted with an engineering firm to remediate a 3 hectare hazardous waste site from an old firing range.
    Author(s) Daniel A. Vallero
    Year 2010
  • Added01/19/2010

    A scenario in which an engineering student attempts to innitiate a manufacturing process that will ensure the safety of company workers and is met with stiff resistance from management.

    Author(s) William J. Frey
    Year 2000
  • Added08/23/2006

    This case involves a civil engineer working for a small municipality faced with a common development dilemma -- how to remain economically viable in order to control growth and avoid merger with neighboring municipalities. The engineer is asked to evaluate development strategies and recommend a course of action to the town council. Town A has turned its downtown into an antique mall, and is focusing on the redevelopment of brownfield areas. Town B has implemented progressive growth management policies, and is pursuing aggressive annexation and industrial recruitment. The engineer must consider the social, economic, and political motivations, as well as environmental and geographical factors, which led to these radically different plans. Deena Murphy-Medley, North Carolina State University, Joseph R. Herkert, North Carolina State University, and Thomas Martin Wiggins, North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

    Author(s) Deena Murphy-Medley T. Martin Wiggins Joseph R. Herkert
    Year 2001
  • Added08/23/2006

    This in-depth case looks at the conflicts that arise in managing and reducing pollution in a community that is reluctant to be involved with government agencies. Ethical issues arise in the case as a result of the consulting engineer's dual role (as paid consultant and unpaid advisor to different groups), the community's suspicion and fear of regulators, the controversial data used to initiate the development of the model, and the bureaucratic nature of the process in which the TMDL was developed. The case was created by Kathryn A. Neeley, University of Virginia; Joseph R. Herkert, North Carolina State University; and Teresa B. Culver, University of Virginia.

    Author(s) Kathryn A. Neeley Joseph R. Herkert Teresa B. Culver
    Contributor(s) Joseph R. Herkert
    Year 2001
  • Added08/23/2006

    In this brief case a chemical engineer is contracted by a small municipality to test drinking water. Upon finding a dangerous level of contaminants in the water, the engineer is stonewalled by the Utilities Commission manager of the financially strapped municipality. (From a collection of cases compiled and edited by Dr. James K. A. Smith, Department of Philosophy, Loyola Marymount University, for his course "Engineering Ethics".

    Author(s) James K. A. Smith
    Year 2000
  • Index to Three Mile Island Nuclear Accident Information. A discussion of the accident at the Three Mile Island Unit 2 (TMI-2) nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania on March 28, 1979 as one of the most serious in the history of the U.S. nuclear industry.
    Year 1998
  • Added08/23/2006

    engineering, science, natural sciences, environment, environmental ethics, sustainable development, cases, chemical engineering, ethics and economics, devoloping countries, safety, public safety, environmental issues, government agencies, corporate r

    This case examines the 1984 catastrophe arising from a chemical leak at a Union Carbide Corporation plant in Bhopal, India, which resulted in the death of as many as 3,000 and injury to thousands more, from the standpoint of exporting risk from industrialized to developing countries. The case, which includes comparisons with Bhopal's sister plant in Institute, West Virginia, considers the moral responsibility for preventing such tragedies on the part of multinational corporations, the governments of the industrialized nations where they are head quartered, and the governments of developing countries where they operate. The moral responsibilities of engineers and scientists working for these organizations are also considered. Deena Murphy-Medley, North Carolina State University.

    Author(s) Deena Murphy-Medley
    Year 2001
Cite this page: "Cases" Online Ethics Center for Engineering 6/23/2009 National Academy of Engineering Accessed: Wednesday, February 10, 2016 <>