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Open-File Report 2007-1347

Publications Warehouse OFR 2007-1347

Total Selenium and Selenium Species in Irrigation Drain Inflows to the Salton Sea, California, April and July 2007

By Thomas W. May, Michael J. Walther, Michael K. Saiki, and William G. Brumbaugh



This report presents the results for two sampling periods during a 4-year monitoring survey to provide a characterization of selenium concentrations in selected irrigation drains flowing into the Salton Sea, California. Total selenium, selenium species, and total suspended solids were determined in water samples, and total selenium was determined in sediment, detritus, and biota that included algae, plankton, midge larvae (family, Chironomidae), and two fish species—western mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis), and sailfin molly (Poecilia latipinna). In addition, sediments were analyzed for percent total organic carbon and particle size. Total selenium concentrations in water for both sampling periods ranged from 1.43 to 47.1 micrograms per liter, predominately as selenate, which is typical of waters leached out of selenium-contaminated marine shales under alkaline and oxidizing conditions. Total selenium concentrations ranged from 0.88 to 20.2 micrograms per gram in biota, and from 0.15 to 28.9 micrograms per gram in detritus and sediment.
Posted December 2007

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