Skip Links

USGS - science for a changing world

Open-File Report 2009–1123

Total Selenium and Selenium Species in Irrigation Drain Inflows to the Salton Sea, California, October 2008 and January 2009

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

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (397 KB)


This report presents the results for two sampling periods (October 2008 and January 2009) during a 4-year monitoring program to characterize selenium concentrations in selected irrigation drains flowing into the Salton Sea, California. Total selenium, selenium species (dissolved selenite, selenate, organoselenium), and total suspended solids were determined in water samples. Total selenium also was determined in water column particulates and 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. Mean total selenium concentrations in water for both sampling periods ranged from 1.00 to 33.6 micrograms per liter, predominately as selenate, which is typical of waters where selenium is leached out of selenium-containing marine shales and associated soils under alkaline and oxidizing conditions. Total selenium concentrations (micrograms per gram dry weight) ranged as follows: algae, 1.52 to 8.26; plankton, 0.79 to 3.66; midges, 2.68 to 50.6; fish, 3.09 to 30.4; detritus, 1.78 to 58.0; and sediment, 0.42 to 10.0.

Posted July 7, 2009

For additional information contact:
Director, USGS Columbia Environmental Research Center
4200 New Haven Road
Columbia, MO 65201
(573) 875-5399

Part or all of this report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF); the latest version of Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view it. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge.

Suggested citation:

May, T.W., Walther, M.J., Saiki, M.K., and Brumbaugh, W.G., 2009, Total selenium and selenium species in irrigation drain inflows to the Salton Sea, California, October 2008 and January 2009: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2009–1123, 14 p.





Quality Assurance


Quality Control Results

References Cited

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
Page Contact Information: Contact USGS
Page Last Modified: Wednesday, December 07, 2016, 09:57:30 PM