A new and simple column-solid-phase extraction method has been developed to separate and preconcentrate trace cobalt in water and soil prior to its determination by flame atomic absorption spectrometry (FAAS). Different factors such as pH of sample solution, sample volume, amount of resin, flow rate of aqueous solution, volume and concentration of eluent, and matrix effects for preconcentration were optimized. Under optimized experimentally established conditions, an analytical detection limit of 0.44 mu g L-1, precision (RSD) of 1.9%, enrichment factor of 200, and capacity of resin of 82 mg g(-1) were obtained. The method was applied for cobalt determination by FAAS in tap water, natural drinking water, soil, and roadside dust samples. The accuracy of the method is confirmed by analysing standard reference material (Montana Soil, SRM 2711).