Studies conducted in the vicinity of an industrial outfall in the Calcasieu River estuary, Louisiana, have shown that water, bottom and suspended sediment, and four different species of biota are contaminated with halogenated organic compounds (HOC) including haloarenes. A "salting-out" effect in the estuary moderately enhanced the partitioning tendency of the contaminants into biota and sediments. Contaminant concentrations in water, suspended sediments, and biota were found to be far below the values predicted on the basis of the assumption of phase equilibria with respect to concentrations in bottom sediment. Relative concentration factors of HOC between biota (catfish) and bottom sediment increased with increasing octanol/estuarine water partition coefficients (Kow*), maximizing at log Kow* of about 5, although these ratios were considerably less than equilibrium values. In contrast, contaminant concentrations in water, biota, and suspended sediments were much closer to equilibrium values. Bioconcentration factors of HOC determined on the basis of lipid content for four different biotic species correlated reasonably well with equilibrium triolein/water partition coefficients (Ktw).