The aim of this study was to apply a molecular protocol to detect leptospiral DNA in environmental water samples. The study was carried out in a peri-urban settlement in Petrópolis, state of Rio de Janeiro. A multiplex PCR method employing the primers LipL32 and 16SrRNA was used. Three out of 100 analysed samples were positive in the multiplex PCR, two were considered to have saprophytic leptospires and one had pathogenic leptospires. The results obtained supported the idea that multiplex PCR can be used to detect Leptospira spp in water samples. This method was also able to differentiate between saprophytic and pathogenic leptospires and was able to do so much more easily than conventional methodologies.