1-(2-Pyridylazo)-2-naphthol impregnated activated carbon cloth (PAN-imp-ACC) was prepared as a solid phase sorbent and, for the first time, was used for the simultaneous separation and preconcentration of trace amounts of lead, cadmium and nickel in water, soil and sewage sludge samples prior to determination by flame atomic absorption spectrometry (FAAS). The parameters governing the efficiency of the method were optimized, including the pH, the eluent type and volume, the sample and eluent flow rates, diverse ions effects and the sample volume. A preconcentration factor of 100 was achieved for all the metal ions, with detection limits of 0.1-2.8 mu g L-1 and relative standard deviations below 6.3%. The adsorption capacity of the PAN-imp-ACC for Pb(II), Cd(II) and Ni(II) ions was found to be 45.0mg g(-1), 45.0 mg g(-1) and 43.2 mg g(-1), respectively. The method was validated by the analysis of the certified reference materials TMDA-64.2 fortified Lake Ontario water and BCR-146R Sewage Sludge Amended Soil (Industrial Origin). The procedure was applied to determine the analytes content in real samples. (C) 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.