Deeper subsurface material was collected in a manner that prevented contamination by surface microorganisms. This material was analyzed for ATP content, and for its capacity to degrade toluene, a common organic contaminant of ground water originating from release of petroleum products. In material from a pristine site near Lula, OK where the permanent water table was at 4m the ATP content of material from 1.5, 2.9, and 4.6m was 1.2, 1.1, and 0.14 micrograms/g respectively. Material from all three depths degraded toluene rapidly. Material from just below the water table at 7.5m at a near-pristine site in Conroe, TX, had an ATP content of only 0.017 mg/g, and could not degrade toluene. All four samples had essentially the same number of cells as determined by Acridine Orange Direct Count. Studies are in progress to determine whether deeper material from the Lula site with a low ATP content (0.03 micrograms/g) can degrade toluene in order to determine if ATP is a candidate index-compound to predict active biotransformation of industrial contaminants.