The incidence of serotypes of Salmonella in three types of environmental water (sea, river and fresh reservoirs) from north-east Spain was investigated. The study was performed at specific sampling locations during the summer for a period of five years (1992–1996). A total of 823 strains were isolated and 55 different serotypes were identified, 42 were recovered from sea water, 32 from river water and 12 from freshwater reservoirs. The most frequently isolated serotypes coincided with those involved in clinical cases in the area studied. Salmonella enteritidis was the most common (111 isolates), it was found in all types of water, although most predominantly in sea water (16.1% of the isolates). This serotype, together with S. hadar, significantly increased in frequency during the five year study period. The most frequent serotypes in river water and freshwater reservoirs were S. virchow (9.5%) and S. mikawasima (23.8%) respectively. Significant differences were assessed in the indicator organism densities between the samples with serotypes of clinical significance (S. enteritidis, S. infantis, S. typhimurium, S. virchow and S. paratyphi B) and those without clinical significance. Therefore their presence in all environmental waters may be of epidemiological significance.