Abstract Anthropogenic organic contaminants in sediments from the Trenton Channel of the Detroit River, a highly industrialized waterway connecting Lake St. Clair with Lake Erie, were identified and quantified. The four major classes of organic contaminants identified were polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB), polychlorinated naphthalenes (PCN), and polychlorinated terphenyls (PCT). Distributions of total PAH, the homologues of PCB and PCN, and total PCT were measured in 33 sediment samples. Concentration range maps revealed one region of relatively low contaminant concentration (southwest shore of Grosse Ile) and one area of high contaminant concentration in the vicinity of Monguagon Creek, located on the northwestern side of the Trenton Channel. Closer examination of total compound class and homologue concentration distributions suggests a hierarchical ordering of contaminant distribution similarity. Total PCT and PCN concentration distributions are most similar to one another, suggesting a common source in the vicinity of the Monguagon Creek mouth. PAH and PCB distributions are less similar to each other and to total PCT and PCN distributions, suggesting different sources of these compound classes.