The Department of Sanitary Engineering was established as a component of the Faculty of Civil Engineering SVŠT and its development was closely connected with the development of this faculty. The nucleus of the current department originated in the second year of the existence of SVŠT, ie in acad. year 1939/40 at the former Department of Civil Engineering - Department of Construction, Transport and Water Management under the name of the Institute of Civil Engineering and Water Management. As it was the first institute with a water management focus on the Department, it provided teaching in basic and applied water management subjects, not only in the field of civil engineering but also in other departments of SVŠT, which were already founded at that time or were later gradually established.
During the first years of its existence, the Department of Civil Engineering and Water Management in the Faculty of Civil Engineering included the subjects Hydraulics (3 + 1), Hydrology (3 + 1), Modification of watercourses and mountain streams (3 + 4), Water supply with technology water (3 + 4), Water law and water management regulations (1 + 0) and Tracing exercise from construction and water management (8 days in the field). At the Department of Special Sciences - Department of Surveying Engineering, this institute taught the subjects Encyclopedia of Civil Engineering in Water Management and Culture (2 + 0) and Water Law and Reclamation Laws (1 + 0). In the Department of Forestry and Agricultural Engineering - Department of Forest Engineering, the subjects Gardening of Torrents with the Basics of Hydraulics and Hydrology (3 + 2) and Water Law and Water Management Laws (1 + 0) were taught from this institute. With such a relatively high pedagogical burden, the Institute, like most of the then institutes, had only two pedagogical forces - one professor, who was prof. Ing. Dr. techn. Peter Danišovič and one assistant, who was Ing. Peter Višňovský.
The beginnings of the current department date back to 1939, when the Institute of Civil Engineering and Water Management was established at the Faculty of Civil Engineering. The first head of the institute was prof. Š. Bella. In 1950, it was renamed the Department of Land Reclamation and Sanitary Engineering, which in 1953 was divided into the Department of Land Reclamation and the Department of Sanitary Engineering. In 2005, the department was renamed the Department of Sanitary and Environmental Engineering.
The first head of the department was prof. P. Višňovský, who headed the department until 1980.
Pedagogical and scientific profiling is formulated by scientific and technical disciplines, such as: water chemistry, water purity, water supply and treatment, sewage and wastewater treatment, water management, waste management, environmental engineering, etc. The department focuses on the education of engineers with application in all branches of water management in the field of health and water engineering and environmental protection (water supply, industry and agriculture, sewerage of municipalities, industrial and agricultural plants, wastewater treatment, waste management, etc.). .
Scientific research activities are developed in accordance with current world trends - the department solves several domestic grants (VEGA, KEGA, APVV) and international projects (COCT, ESF, EVK, TEMPUS) in the field of water quality protection and use, drainage hydraulics, hydrology urbanized areas, degradation of organic matter in landfills, waste management, etc.).
Important personalities who influenced the development of the department were: prof. P. Višnovský, prof. J. Martoň and prof. P. Urcikán.