Aquatic humic substances (AHSs) in water generate potentially harmful disinfection by-products (DBPs) such as haloacetic acids (HAAs) and trihalomethanes (THMs) during chlorination. AHSs from two Arkansas reservoirs were characterized to define source, identify meta-dihydroxybenzene (m-DHB) structures as probable DBP precursors, and evaluate predicted HAA and THM formation potentials. Elemental nitrogen content < 1 percent, phenol content > 0.5 ??eq/mg, ??13C values of -27???, and low yields of syringyl phenols found by cupric oxide (CuO) oxidation suggest a pine tree source for the AHSs found in the Maumelle and Winona reservoirs in Little Rock, Ark. CuO oxidation yielded fewer m-DHB structures in Maumelle AHSs than in Winona AHSs. A higher 3,5-dihydroxybenzoic acid (3,5-DHBA) content correlated with increased HAA and THM formation potential. The 3,5-DHBA concentration in Winona AHSs was similar to the range found in AHSs extracted from deciduous leaf litter, twigs, and grass leachates.