Abstract The impact of sediment type on stream water geochemistry was studied in a catchment in Finland affected by sulphidic fine-grained sediments. Stream water samples for general characterisation of water quality (pH, electrical conductivity) were taken at the basin outlet during various hydrological conditions, while samples for detailed geochemical analysis were collected at 119 sites in the catchment on one single occasion during high-water flow in autumn. The occurrence of sulphidic fine sediments was estimated based on data from an airborne electromagnetic survey carried out by the Geological Survey of Finland. Growing-symbol maps, which were prepared for each of the studied variables in water, and statistical calculations including factor analysis and Spearman correlations show that the concentrations of Al, Ga, U and Tl, all the lanthanides and several alkali and alkaline earth metals (K, Mg, Na, Li, Ca, Rb, Sr), transition metals (Cd, Co, Cu, Zn, Sc, Mn, Ni, Y, Hf) and non-metals (S, Br, I, Si) increase in water when the proportion of the catchment cover of sulphidic fine sediments increases. It is therefore argued that these elements are released and mobilised in considerable amounts by the oxidation and subsequent acidification and weathering of this type of sediment. Other elements are either slightly depleted in streams in areas of sulphidic fine sediments (V, Nb, Pb, Zr), have a distribution unrelated to sediment type (Fe, Cr, Cs, Mo), or are only weakly impacted by the occurrence of sulphidic sediments in the catchment (As, Ti, Ba). It is argued that these elements are not leached extensively from the oxidising sulphidic sediments, and that their distributions at least partly may be controlled by the contents of dissolved humic material and/or suspended organic and inorganic phases in the water.