Activated carbon was produced from tea-industry wastes (TIWAC) and employed as a low cost and effective solid phase material for the separation, preconcentration and speciation of chromium species without using a complexing agent, prior to determination by flame atomic absorption spectrometry (FAAS). The characterization of TIWAC was performed by utilizing several techniques such as Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) Spectroscopy, Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), and elemental analysis. The adsorption experiments were conducted in a batch adsorption technique. Under the experimental conditions, Cr(VI) adsorption amount was nearly equal to zero, however the adsorption percentage of Cr(III) was in the range of 95-100%. Therefore total chromium was determined after the reduction of Cr(VI) to Cr(III) and Cr(VI) was calculated by subtracting Cr(III) concentration from total chromium concentration. The suitable conditions for adsorption and speciation processes were evaluated in terms of pH, eluent type and volume, TIWAC concentration, adsorption and desorption contact time, etc. Adsorption capacity of TIWAC was found to be 61.0 mg g(-1). The detection limit for Cr(III) was found to be 0.27 mu g L-1 and the preconcentration factor was 50 for 200 mL of sample volume. The procedure was applied to the determination and speciation of chromium in stream, tap and sea water. Also, the proposed method was applied to total chromium preconcentration in microwave digested tobacco and dried eggplant samples with satisfactory results. The method was validated by analyzing certified reference materials (CRM-TMDW-500 Drinking Water and CRM-SA-C Sandy Soil C) and the results were in good agreement with the certified values. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.