Hydroxyatrazine (HA) is the major metabolite of atrazine in most surface soils. Knowledge of HA sorption to soils, and its pattern of stream water contamination suggest that it is persistent in the environment. Soils with different atrazine use histories were collected from four sites, and sediments were collected from an agricultural watershed. Samples were exhaustively extracted with a mixed-mode extractant, and HA was quantitated using high performance liquid chromatography with UV detection. Atrazine, deethylatrazine (DEA), and deisopropylatrazine (DIA) were also measured in all samples. Concentrations of HA were considerably greater than concentrations of atrazine, DEA, and DIA in all soils and sediments studied. Soil concentrations of HA ranged from 14 to 640 ??g/kg with a median concentration of 84 ??g/kg. Sediment concentrations of HA ranged from 11 to 96 ??g/kg, with a median concentration of 14 ??g/kg. Correlations of HA and atrazine concentrations to soil properties indicated that HA levels in soils were controlled by sorption of atrazine. Because atrazine hydrolysis is known to be enhanced by sorption and pH extremes, soils with high organic matter (OM) and clay content and low pH will result in greater atrazine sorption and subsequent hydrolysis. Significant correlation of HA concentrations to OM, pH, and cation exchange capacity of sediments indicated that mixed-mode sorption (i.e., binding by cation exchange and hydrophobic interactions) was the mechanism controlling HA levels in sediment. The presence of HA in soils and stream sediments at the levels observed support existing hypotheses regarding its transport in surface runoff. These results also indicated that persistence of HA in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems is an additional risk factor associated with atrazine usage.