Standard Historical Last Updated: Jan 04, 2024 Track Document
ASTM D3859-15

Standard Test Methods for Selenium in Water

Standard Test Methods for Selenium in Water D3859-15 ASTM|D3859-15|en-US Standard Test Methods for Selenium in Water Standard new BOS Vol. 11.01 Committee D19
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Significance and Use

4.1 In most natural waters selenium concentrations seldom exceed 10 μg/L. However, the runoff from certain types of seleniferous soils at various times of the year can produce concentrations as high as several hundred micrograms per litre. Additionally, industrial contamination can be a significant source of selenium in rivers and streams.

4.2 High concentrations of selenium in drinking water have been suspected of being toxic to animal life. Selenium is a priority pollutant and all public water agencies are required to monitor its concentration.

4.3 These test methods determine the dominant species of selenium reportedly found in most natural and wastewaters, including selenities, selenates, and organo-selenium compounds.


1.1 These test methods cover the determination of dissolved and total recoverable selenium in most waters and wastewaters. Both test methods utilize atomic absorption procedures, as follows:



Test Method A—Gaseous Hydride AAS2, 3

7 – 16

Test Method B—Graphite Furnace AAS

17 – 26

1.2 These test methods are applicable to both inorganic and organic forms of dissolved selenium. They are applicable also to particulate forms of the element, provided that they are solubilized in the appropriate acid digestion step. However, certain selenium-containing heavy metallic sediments may not undergo digestion.

1.3 These test methods are most applicable within the following ranges:

Test Method A—Gaseous Hydride AAS2, 3

1 to 20 μg/L

Test Method B—Graphite Furnace AAS

2 to 100 μg/L

These ranges may be extended (with a corresponding loss in precision) by decreasing the sample size or diluting the original sample, but concentrations much greater than the upper limits are more conveniently determined by flame atomic absorption spectrometry.

1.4 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as standard. The values given in parentheses are mathematical conversions to inch-pound units that are provided for information only and are not considered standard.

1.5 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use. For specific hazard statements, see 11.12 and 13.14.

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Book of Standards Volume: 11.01
Developed by Subcommittee: D19.05
Pages: 12
DOI: 10.1520/D3859-15
ICS Code: 13.060.50