Many important organic contaminants present particular analytical difficulties on account of their polarity and water solubility. Performance test data for two of the most promising approaches: solid phase extraction (SPE) and solid phase microextraction (SPME) are presented. SPE, used in a batch mode, offers a potentially powerful tool as a routine screening method. SPME is probably more useful as a technique to be deployed rapidly in an emergency, particularly when gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS) general survey screening is to be used.