Surface water samples were collected from ten previously selected sites of the polluted Dil Deresi stream, during two field surveys, December 2001 and April 2002. All samples were analyzed using ICP-AES, and the concentrations of trace metals (Al, As, Ba, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Pb, Sn and Zn) were determined. The results were compared with national and international water quality guidelines, as well as literature values reported for similar rivers. Factor analysis (FA) and a factor analysis-multiple regression (FA-MR) model were used for source apportionment and estimation of contributions from identified sources to the concentration of each parameter. By a varimax rotated factor analysis, four source types were identified as the paint industry; sewage, crustal and road traffic runoff for trace metals, explaining about 83% of the total variance. FA-MR results showed that predicted concentrations were calculated with uncertainties lower than 15%. (C) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.