In this study, the adsorptive removal of selenium(IV) and selenium(VI) from water by a newly developed ion exchange adsorbent, based on Fe(III) and Mn(III) hydrous oxides, was examined. This study was conducted to determine the influence of various operating parameters, such as initial anion concentration, contact time, adsorbent dose, pH, solution temperature, and the presence of competitive anions, on the treatment performance. The high Se(IV) adsorptive capacity of the adsorbent (up to 41.02. mg/g at pH 4) was due to its high affinity for selenite, as reflected in the fast rate of uptake (batch studies) and an efficient long-term removal (column experiments). Although adsorption of anions traditionally decreases as pH increases, the mixed adsorbent was capable of purifying large volumes of Se(IV)-containing water (at pH 7) to reach concentrations lower than 10 μg/L, which meets the European Commission standards. The presence of sulphate and carbonate did not influence Se(IV) adsorption. However, high phosphate and silicate concentrations may have decreased the removal efficiency of Se(IV). Data from the batch and column adsorption experiments were fitted with a number of approved models, which revealed the adsorption mechanism and allowed for a comparison of the results. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.