Abstract Passive samplers are increasingly being considered for analyses of waters for screening applications, to monitor for the presence of unwanted chemical compounds. Passive samplers typically work by accumulating and concentrating chemicals from the surrounding water over time, allowing analyses to identify temporally short concentration surges that might be missed by water grab samples, and potentially reducing analysis and sample handling costs, allowing a greater number of sites to be monitored. The work described here tests a recently-developed passive sampling device which was designed to provide an ultra-low-cost screening method for organic chemicals in waters. The device was originally designed for detection of endocrine disrupting chemicals, but has the advantage that it is capable of simultaneously detecting a wide range of other aqueous organic contaminants as well. The device is based on a UV-transparent polymer which is used both to concentrate dissolved chemicals, and as an optical cell for absorbance detection and full-spectrum deconvolution to identify compounds. This paper describes the results of a test of the device conducted at the US EPA Experimental Stream Facility in Milford, Ohio. The test examined detection of triclosan and 4-nonylphenol in model stream channels using two different deployment methods. Results indicate that deployment method can significantly impact measured results due to differences in mass transfer. Passive samplers deployed in vials with permeable membrane septa showed no detection of either compound, likely due to lack of water motion in the vials. In contrast, passive samplers deployed directly in the flow were able to track concentrations of both compounds, and respond to temporal changes in concentration. The results of the work highlight the importance of using internal spiking standards (performance reference compounds) to avoid false non-detection results in passive sampler applications.