Soil water concentrations of cadmium and zinc were measured in plant pots with 15 contaminated soils which differed in origin, texture, pH (5.1-7.8) and concentrations of cadmium (0.2-17 mg Cd kg(-1)) and zinc (36-1300 mg Zn kg(-1)). The soil waters contained total concentrations of 0.5 to 17 mu g Cd L(-1) and 9 to 3600 mu g Zn L(-1), which were dominated by free metal ions as measured by an ion exchange-resin method. Annual leaching outflows were estimated from soil water concentrations to be 0.5-17 g Cd ha(-1) y(-1) and 9-3600 g Zn ha(-1) y(-1) per 100 mm of net percolation, corresponding to 0.1% per year of the total soil content of cadmium and zinc. The measured soil water concentrations of cadmium and zinc did not correlate linearly with the corresponding soil concentrations but correlated fairly well with concentrations measured in Ca(NO(3))(2) extracts of the soils and with soil water concentrations estimated from soil concentrations and pH. Such concentration estimates may be useful for estimating amounts of cadmium and zinc being leached from soils.