The occurrence of 14 mostly used pharmaceuticals from different classes (antibiotics, beta-blockers, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and stimulant) and hormones in surface water in Istanbul, Turkey was investigated in this study. An important drinking water source, Buyukcekmece Lake and main rivers flowing into the lake were selected for the monitoring of the compounds. Sampling was conducted five different times in a year in order to observe seasonal changes. A rapid, robust and sensitive method using solid phase extraction and ultra-performance liquid chromatograph coupled with triple quadrupole tandem mass spectrometer was established for quantification of both pharmaceuticals and hormones. Limit of quantifications were between 0.5 and 1.1 ng L-1. Recoveries were between 72-119% and 61-98% for ultra-pure water and for surface water, respectively. All selected compounds were detected at least once in the samples. Some pharmaceuticals were detected as high as a few of micrograms per liter levels in the rivers. Most frequently detected compounds were caffeine and antibiotics (amoxicillin, ciprofloxacin, erythromycin and sulfamethoxazole). Synthetic hormone (17 alpha-ethynylestradiol) was detected only 4 times corresponding least detected compound in whole sampling period. Field data confirms that amoxicillin is more prone to degradation with respect to other antibiotics. Estrone and 17-beta estradiol are converted to estriol by natural processes in surface water. (c) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.