An analytical method was developed to detect the three sulfonamides para-toluenesulfonamide (p-TSA), ortho-toluenesulfonamide (o-TSA) and benzenesulfonamide (BSA) in environmental water samples at concentrations down to 0.02 microg/L using liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS/MS). Wastewater, surface water, groundwater and drinking water samples from Berlin (Germany) were analysed for all three compounds which appear to be ubiquitously present in the aquatic environment. p-TSA was found in high concentrations in the wastewater (<0.02-50.8 microg/L) and in groundwater below a former sewage farm (<0.02-41 microg/L), and in lower concentrations in the surface water (<0.02 to 1.15 microg/L) and drinking water (<0.02-0.27 microg/L). o-TSA and BSA were detected in considerably lower concentrations. The study makes clear that p-TSA should be monitored because of its comparatively high concentration in Berlin's drinking water.