Bleomycin (BLM) is an antitumor drug which interacts with and damages DNA. We have reported a repair response dependent on DNA polymerase I in toluene-treated Escherichia coli. We report here that DNA polymerase III can also catalyze a repair response in toluene-treated E. coli following exposure to BLM. Polymerase III-mediated synthesis differs because it is ATP-dependent, whereas polymerase I-mediated repair synthesis is not. Polymerase III repair synthesis is independent of replicative synthesis, as demonstrated in a polA-, dnaBts strain, or use of Novobiocin to inhibit replication, and replication persists in the presence of repair synthesis. It appears that ATP-dependent repair synthesis in response to BLM is also present in polA+ strains. Repair synthesis does not require the uvrA gene product.