A surface complexation model describing the adsorption of three benzenecarboxylates (phthalate, trimellitate, and pyromellitate) on goethite (alpha-FeOOH) was calibrated on data using goethite particles of 37 and 43 m(2)/g surface area. The models predict potentiometric titration and batch adsorption data with the multisite complexation model coupled with the three-plane model to account for surface electrostatics. The modeling parameters were found to be similar to those calibrated on benzenecarboxylate adsorption data on goethite particles of 90 m(2)/g (Boily et al. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta, in press). The significance of the benzenecarboxylate-dependent values of the modeling parameters is also discussed. The values of the capacitances of the inner- and outer-Helmholtz planes were shown to be important modeling parameters to model the benzenecarboxylate-dependent slopes of the adsorption edges. It was shown that the larger the charge of the ligand, the larger the capacitance of the outer-Helmholtz plane. (C) 2000 Academic Press.