The effects of humic acid on poliovirus type 1 recovery from water by Zeta Plus 60S filters were investigated. The humic acid interfered by preventing virus adsorption to the filters, and the interference increased as a function of the amount of humic acid filtered. Humic acid decreased virus adsorption when filtered before the virus, but did not elute virus which had adsorbed to the filters. The effects on virus recovery were not due to alterations in virus titer or neutralizability. The addition of AlCl3, which improved virus recovery by electronegative filters in the presence of humic acid, did not aid in overall virus recovery by the Zeta Plus filters in the presence or absence of humic acid. However, the salt and humic acid in combination improved virus adsorption and concurrently reduced virus elution efficiency. The addition of NaH2PO4 had no direct effect on virus recovery and did not alter the effect of humic acid. In an attempt to identify the components of humic acid responsible for the interference, humic materials were fractionated by size by using Sephadex gel chromatography and dialysis, and the fractions were tested for interfering activity. Interference was not associated with specific size fractions of the humic materials.