A logistic regression model was developed to predict the likelihood that Se exceeds the USEPA chronic criterion for aquatic life (5 ??g/L) in irrigated agricultural areas of the western USA. Preliminary analysis of explanatory variables used in the model indicated that surface-water Se concentration increased with increasing dissolved solids (DS) concentration and with the presence of Upper Cretaceous, mainly marine sediment. The presence or absence of Cretaceous sediment was the major variable affecting Se concentration in surface-water samples from the National Irrigation Water Quality Program. Median Se concentration was 14 ??g/L in samples from areas underlain by Cretaceous sediments and < 1 ??g/L in samples from areas underlain by non-Cretaceous sediments. Wilcoxon rank sum tests indicated that elevated Se concentrations in samples from areas with Cretaceous sediments, irrigated areas, and from closed lakes and ponds were statistically significant. Spearman correlations indicated that Se was positively correlated with a binary geology variable (0.64) and DS (0.45). Logistic regression models indicated that the concentration of Se in surface water was almost certain to exceed the Environmental Protection Agency aquatic-life chronic criterion of 5 ??g/L when DS was greater than 3000 mg/L in areas with Cretaceous sediments. The 'best' logistic regression model correctly predicted Se exceedances and nonexceedances 84.4% of the time, and model sensitivity was 80.7%. A regional map of Cretaceous sediment showed the location of potential problem areas. The map and logistic regression model are tools that can be used to determine the potential for Se contamination of irrigated agricultural areas in the western USA.
Additional publication details
Selenium in irrigated agricultural areas of the western United States