A simple and sensitive method for the speciation, separation and preconcentration of Cr(VI) and Cr(III) in tap water was developed. Cr(VI) has been separated from Cr(III) and preconcentrated as its 1,5-diphenylcarbazone complex by using a column containing Amberlite XAD-16 resin and determined by FAAS. Total chromium has also been determined by FAAS after conversion of Cr(III) to Cr(VI) by oxidation with KMnO4. Then, Cr(III) has been calculated by subtracting Cr(VI) from the total. The effect of acidity, amount of adsorbent, eluent type and flow rate of the sample solution on to the preconcentration procedure has been investigated. The retained Cr(VI) complex was eluated with 10 ml of 0.05 mol l(-1) H2SO4 solution in methanol. The recovery of Cr(VI) was 99.7 +/- 0.7 at 95% confidence level. The highest preconcentration factor was 25 for a 250 ml sample volume. The detection limit of Cr(VI) was found as 45 mug l(-1). The adsorption capacity of the resin was found as 0.4 mg g(-1) for Cr (VI). The effect of interfering ions has-also been studied. The proposed method was applied to tap water samples and chromium species have been determined with the relative error < 3%. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.