The herbicides amitrole and glyphosate, and its metabolite aminomethyl-phosphonic acid (AMPA), in water samples have been directly analysed by high-performance liquid chromatography using an electrochemical (EC) detector. Limits of detection of 0.3 microg mL(-1) for glyphosate, 0.05 microg mL(-1) for AMPA and 0.03 microg mL(-1) for amitrole were comparable to those obtained by other authors using EC and also by liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry, but the latter method requires derivatisation and pre-concentration of the sample whereas EC methods show similar sensitivity without the need of any derivatisation. The method was specifically designed to analyse extracts from passive samplers used for monitoring of polar herbicide residues in waters. To this purpose, three types of Empore disks were tested for their ability to adsorb and desorb these ionic, polar analytes. A procedure for their extraction from the membranes and reducing the interferences from other substances present in natural waters (i.e. humic acids) is described. The method is simple, does not require sophisticated equipment and is valid for the analysis and monitoring of herbicides residues using passive samplers.