Water-sediment controversy in setting environmental standards for selenium

Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety
By:  and 



A substantial amount of laboratory and field research on selenium effects to biota has been accomplished since the national water quality criterion was published for selenium in 1987. Many articles have documented adverse effects on biota at concentrations below the current chronic criterion of 5 μg/L. This commentary will present information to support a national water quality criterion for selenium of 2 μg/L, based on a wide array of support from federal, state, university, and international sources. Recently, two articles have argued for a sediment-based criterion and presented a model for deriving site-specific criteria. In one example, they calculate a criterion of 31 μg/L for a stream with a low sediment selenium toxicity threshold and low site-specific sediment total organic carbon content, which is substantially higher than the national criterion of 5 μg/L. Their basic premise for proposing a sediment-based method has been critically reviewed and problems in their approach are discussed.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Water-sediment controversy in setting environmental standards for selenium
Series title Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety
DOI 10.1006/eesa.1999.1833
Volume 44
Issue 3
Year Published 1999
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Columbia Environmental Research Center
Description 9 p.
First page 227
Last page 235
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