Abstract A method for analysis of organics in water was developed. The principle is the direct injection of water sample into the gas chromatograph using steam as the carrier gas. The steam developer is described. Analyses of natural polluted water containing hydrocarbons, alcohols and ketones are presented. The method is simple, fast and relatively sensitive to the determination of compounds having a wide range of polarities and a wide range of boiling points. The sensitivity of the method was 10 μg/l for hydrocarbons. The behaviour of the flame ionization detector under conditions of steam-solid chromatography was studied. The detector gives a constant and reproducible response which is, however, lower than that under conventional gas chromatographic conditions. The effect of the hydrogen and steam mobile phase flow-rates upon the detector response differ from those obtained for the flame ionization detector with an inert carrier gas. The other dependences on experimental conditions are similar to those in conventional gas chromatography.