The elongated semi-enclosed Bay of Izmit, which receives both domestic and industrial wastes, has been monitored by measuring its physical and biochemical parameters for 2 years, 1994-1995. It is clear that there are two distinct water masses. The upper layer has been occupied by the less saline (22-26 ppt) waters of the Black Sea origin; whereas the lower layer contains saline (38.5 ppt) Mediterranean waters. The seasonal variations in the biochemical characteristics were dependent on the bay's two-layer flow system. If one considers the distribution of transparency in the upper bay waters, it has been observed that the Secchi disk depth (SDD) decreases from west to east. Furthermore, these depths are limited by the high primary productivity associated with the low concentrations of nutrients observed during the spring. Discharges of wastes into the surface waters significantly affect the biological production and oxygen consumption in the lower layer. Within the last 10 years, 80% of organic matter has been removed from industrial wastewater. However, organic loads from the domestic wastewaters have doubled because of the growth in the surrounding population. Fortunately, as a result, the total organic loads in the bay have not changed significantly within the last 10 years. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.