Thiacrown polymers immobilized to a polystyrene-divinylbenzene matrix react with Hg.sup.2+ under a variety of conditions to efficiently and selectively remove Hg.sup.2+ ions from acidic aqueous solutions, even in the presence of a variety of other metal ions. The mercury can be recovered and the polymer regenerated. This mercury removal method has utility in the treatment of industrial wastewater, where a selective and cost-effective removal process is required.
 The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.