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selenium speciation, Selenite, Selenate, Selenocyanate, selenium testing

Selenium Speciation for FGD Waters

The Complexity of Flue Gas Desulfurization Waters

Flue gas desulfurization (FGD) is a technology used by the coal-fired power industry to remove sulfur dioxide and other chemicals from exhaust flue gases.  Though effective in reducing air emissions, wet scrubber FGD systems contribute selenium from the combusted coal to the FGD discharge water. Operators of coal-fired power plants are faced with the challenge of limiting the levels of selenium in these discharge waters. By understanding the different species of selenium in the discharge, power plants can implement cost effective treatment and control technologies.

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Eurofins TestAmerica Selenium Speciation Method Summary

To effectively manage and treat selenium levels in discharge waters, operators must understand the species of selenium present.  Eurofins TestAmerica’s unique analytical capabilities offer speciation of selenium into three forms: selenite, selenate and selenocyanate.  Understanding the species of selenium most prevalent at a given site allows operators to design systems to reduce and target the formation of individual species of selenium, thus reducing the total amount of selenium present in the discharge water.

Eurofins TestAmerica utilizes High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) to separate the species of selenium into selenite, selenate and selenocyanate.  Following the speciation, the samples are analyzed utilizing Inductively Coupled Plasma – Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) to quantify the levels of each species in the sample.   Our analytical methodology allows for detection of selenium at ppb levels:




Selenite               Se+4

Selenate              Se+6

Selenocyanate     SeCN    

CAS Number





   RL (ug/L)





How Can Eurofins TestAmerica Help You?

Eurofins TestAmerica’s experience working with FGD wastewaters, along with a specially designed method for selenium speciation, ensures that you will receive the consistent high quality service that you have come to expect from Eurofins TestAmerica.  Working with your Eurofins TestAmerica Project Manager, we will create a project plan to meet your unique goals, and help you to ensure compliance with all of the regulatory guidelines for your site.  Our selenium speciation method has been designed to provide you with the insights you need to develop effective systems to reduce selenium discharges on your site, while also monitoring the progress and effectiveness of these systems in the long run.  Partnering with Eurofins TestAmerica will allow you to reduce your risk associated with FGD wet scrubber technology, as well as control unnecessary analytical expenses associated with these processes.