Diel variations in the concentrations of a number of constituents have the potential to substantially affect the appropriate sampling regimen in acidic streams. Samples taken once during the course of the day cannot adequately reflect diel variations in water quality and may result in an inaccurate understanding of biogeochemical processes, ecological conditions, and of the threat posed by the water to human health and the associated wildlife. Surface water and groundwater affected by acid drainage were sampled every 60 to 90. min over a 48-hour period at a former zinc smelter known as the Hegeler Zinc Superfund Site, near Hegeler, Illinois. Diel variations related to water quality in the aquifer were not observed in groundwater. Diel variations were observed in the temperature, pH, and concentration of dissolved oxygen, nitrite, barium, iron, lead, vanadium, and possibly uranium in surface water. Temperature, dissolved oxygen, nitrite, barium, lead, and uranium generally attained maximum values during the afternoon and minimum values during the night. Iron, vanadium, and pH generally attained minimum values during the afternoon and maximum values during the night. Concentrations of dissolved oxygen were affected by the intensity of photosynthetic activity and respiration, which are dependent upon insolation. Nitrite, an intermediary in many nitrogen reactions, may have been formed by the oxidation of ammonium by dissolved oxygen and converted to other nitrogen species as part of the decomposition of organic matter. The timing of the pH cycles was distinctly different from the cycles found in Midwestern alkaline streams and likely was the result of the photoreduction of Fe3+ to Fe 2+ and variations in the intensity of precipitation of hydrous ferric oxide minerals. Diel cycles of iron and vanadium also were primarily the result of variations in the intensity of precipitation of hydrous ferric oxide minerals. The diel variation in the concentrations of lead, uranium, and barium may have been affected by competition with Fe+2 for sorption sites on hydrous ferric oxide minerals. ?? 2010.