A procedure for analysis and pretreatment of natural-water samples to determine very low concentrations of Al is described which distinguishes the rapidly reacting equilibrium species from the metastable or slowly reacting macro ions and colloidal suspended material. Aluminum is complexed with 8-hydroxyquinoline (oxine), pH is adjusted to 8.3 to minimize interferences, and the aluminum oxinate is extracted with methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK) prior to analysis by atomic absorption. To determine equilibrium species only, the contact time between sample and 8-hydroxyquinoline is minimized. The Al may be extracted at the sample site with a minimum of equipment and the MIBK extract stored for several weeks prior to atomic absorption analysis. Data obtained from analyses of 39 natural groundwater samples indicate that filtration through a 0.1-??m pore size filter is not an adequate means of removing all insoluble and metastable Al species present, and extraction of Al immediately after collection is necessary if only dissolved and readily reactive species are to be determined. An average of 63% of the Al present in natural waters that had been filtered through 0.1-??m pore size filters was in the form of monomeric ions. The total Al concentration, which includes all forms that passed through a 0.1-??m pore size filter, ranged 2-70 ??g/l. The concentration of Al in the form of monomeric ions ranged from below detection to 57 ??g/l. Most of the natural water samples used in this study were collected from thermal springs and oil wells. ?? 1975.