A sensitive and selective method was developed for the speciation of chromium(III) and chromium(VI) in environmental samples based on membrane filtration and determination by flame atomic absorption spectrometry. Chromium(III) reacts with cochineal red A, yielding a complex that is adsorbed on a cellulose acetate membrane filter, whereas chromium(VI) remains in aqueous solution, permitting separation. After reduction of chromium(VI) to chromium(III) with hydroxylamine hydrochloride, the total concentration of chromium was determined, and the concentration of chromium(VI) was calculated by subtraction. The pH, amount of cochineal red A, and sample volume were optimized on the basis of the recovery of Cr(III). The influence of matrix ions was also investigated. The preconcentration factor was 94. The detection limit (3 sigma) for Cr(III) was 1.4 micrograms per liter. The method was validated using environmental certified reference materials. The method was successfully employed for the speciation of chromium in wastewater and lake water.