Seasonal variations of pesticide residues in surface waters and ground waters of the Imathia area of Central Mecedonia (N. Greece) were determined for the period from May 1996 to April 1997. The sampling cruises included eight sites in rivers Aliakmon, Loudias, Tripotamos, Arapitsa and Canal-66, seven water springs in the mountain Vermion, seven rainfall water collection stations and one hundred underground points. Solid-phase extraction disks followed by gas chromatographic techniques with flame thermionic detection, electron capture detection and mass-selective detection were used for the monitoring of various pesticides their transformation products in environmental waters. The most commonly encountered pesticides in underground waters, were alachlor, atrazine, desethylatrazine (DEA), metolachlor, molinate, propanil, simazine, carbofuran, diazinon and parathion methyl. The above compounds including propazine, trifluralin, malathion, parathion ethyl, lindane, alpha-benzene hexachloride (alpha-BHC), beta-BHC, 4,4'-DDE and heptachlor were determined in river waters. The higher concentrations in underground waters were measured during the period from May to August, 1996, following seasonal application and diminished significantly during the autumn and winter. Water pollution by triazine and chloroacetanilides was highest in the estuarine areas, showing that many of these compounds are transported significant distances from their application sites. The major inputs of atrazine, alachlor, simazine and metolachlor occurred in May and June just after their application. Atrazine, DEA, diazinon and metolachlor were also detected in spring waters at concentration levels below 0.006 mu g/l. Finally, atrazine, DEA, carbofuran, simazine, diazinon, parathion ethyl and parathion methyl were detected in rainfall water samples collected in the agricultural area of Imathia (central part of the plain). (C) 1998 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.