The evaluation of microbial availability of contaminants is of high importance for better reflecting the processes governing contaminant fate in soil and for establishing the risk associated with contaminated sites. A sub-critical water extraction technique was assessed for its potential to determine the microbially degradable fraction of [14C]phenanthrene-associated activity in two dissimilar soils at three different ageing times (14, 28 and 49 days). For the majority of determinations, no significant (p > 0.05) difference between sub-critical water-extracted 14C-activity at 160 °C and the fraction mineralized by catabolically active Pseudomonas sp. was observed. Collectively, the results suggested that the sub-critical water extraction technique was an appropriate technique for predicting the biodegradable fraction of phenanthrene-associated 14C-activity in dissimilar soils following increasing soil-contaminant contact time. Sub-critical water extraction reflects phenanthrene bioaccessibility in the soil.