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Molecules 2017, 22(5), 708; doi:10.3390/molecules22050708

Selenium Speciation in the Fountain Creek Watershed (Colorado, USA) Correlates with Water Hardness, Ca and Mg Levels

1
Department of Chemistry, Colorado State University–Pueblo, 2200 Bonforte Blvd, Pueblo, CO 81001, USA
2
Cell and Molecular Biology Program, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
3
Department of Chemistry, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
4
División de Ciencias Básicas, Universidad Juárez Autónoma de Tabasco, Cunduacán, Tabasco 86690, Mexico
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 4 March 2017 / Revised: 14 April 2017 / Accepted: 19 April 2017 / Published: 30 April 2017
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Abstract

The environmental levels of selenium (Se) are regulated and strictly enforced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) because of the toxicity that Se can exert at high levels. However, speciation plays an important role in the overall toxicity of Se, and only when speciation analysis has been conducted will a detailed understanding of the system be possible. In the following, we carried out the speciation analysis of the creek waters in three of the main tributaries—Upper Fountain Creek, Monument Creek and Lower Fountain Creek—located in the Fountain Creek Watershed (Colorado, USA). There are statistically significant differences between the Se, Ca and Mg, levels in each of the tributaries and seasonal swings in Se, Ca and Mg levels have been observed. There are also statistically significant differences between the Se levels when grouped by Pierre Shale type. These factors are considered when determining the forms of Se present and analyzing their chemistry using the reported thermodynamic relationships considering Ca2+, Mg2+, SeO42−, SeO32− and carbonates. This analysis demonstrated that the correlation between Se and water hardness can be explained in terms of formation of soluble CaSeO4. The speciation analysis demonstrated that for the Fountain Creek waters, the Ca2+ ion may be mainly responsible for the observed correlation with the Se level. Considering that the Mg2+ level is also correlating linearly with the Se levels it is important to recognize that without Mg2+ the Ca2+ would be significantly reduced. The major role of Mg2+ is thus to raise the Ca2+ levels despite the equilibria with carbonate and other anions that would otherwise decrease Ca2+ levels. View Full-Text
Keywords: speciation; selenium determination; acidity; toxicity; thermodynamics speciation; selenium determination; acidity; toxicity; thermodynamics
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MDPI and ACS Style

Carsella, J.S.; Sánchez-Lombardo, I.; Bonetti, S.J.; Crans, D.C. Selenium Speciation in the Fountain Creek Watershed (Colorado, USA) Correlates with Water Hardness, Ca and Mg Levels. Molecules 2017, 22, 708.

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