Adsorption of two synthetic organic compounds (SOCs; phenanthrene and biphenyl) by two pristine graphene nanosheets (GNS) and one graphene oxide (GO) was examined and compared with those of a coal base activated carbon (HD4000), a single-walled carbon nanotube (SWCNT), and a multi-walled carbon nanotube (MWCNT) in distilled and deionized water and in the presence of natural organic matter (NOM). Graphenes exhibited comparable or better adsorption capacities than carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and granular activated carbon (GAC) in the presence of NOM. The presence of NOM reduced the SOC uptake of all adsorbents. However, the impact of NOM on the SOC adsorption was smaller on graphenes than CNTs and activated carbons. Furthermore, the SOC with its flexible molecular structure was less impacted from NOM preloading than the SOC with planar and rigid molecular structure. The results indicated that graphenes can serve as alternative adsorbents for removing SOCs from water. However, they will also, if released to environment, adsorb organic contaminants influencing their fate and impact in the environment.