Abstract This paper deals with the recovery and/or purification of liquid streams containing phenol and p-nitrophenol with individual concentrations of 25 mg/l by adsorptive parametric pumping. The parametric pump operated in a direct mode, semicontinuous manner, with feed to the top reservoir. The adsorbent used was Duolite ES861 (a polystyrenic resin produced by Rohm and Haas) and temperatures of each half-cycle were 60 and 20°C. Basic data (adsorption equilibrium isotherms and mass capacity factors) were obtained from batch equilibrium experiments and fixed-bed runs (breakthrough curves). Under the experimental conditions used, we were able to concentrate the initial solution by a factor of 2–3 (final solution concentration in the top reservoir) and to produce a bottom product with concentrations of phenol and p-nitrophenol that are 2–3 orders of magnitude lower than the concentration of the feed solution.