The Catabacteriaceae is a new bacterial family with a unique member: Catabacter hongkongensis is a strictly anaerobic, non-sporulating, Gram-positive coccobacillus that is phylogenetically related to some clostridial clusters. Little is known of its epidemiology and environmental distribution, but the inclusion of its 16S rRNA gene sequence in GenBank has allowed it to be detected qualitatively. As a first approach for prospective surveys, a real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) procedure to identify C. hongkongensis has been developed. The presence of Catabacteriaceae in 29 water bodies subjected to possible human or animal impact has been investigated. Four of them were positive. The results confirm that highly polluted water can contain C. hongkongensis.