A tetranuclear bimetallic complex, [Ruˡˡ(ᵗBubpy)(CN)₄]₂–[Feˡˡˡ(H₂O)₃Cl]₂•8H₂O (1) has been synthesized and characterized. It was found to be a multifunctional device that can detect, signal amplify, and degrade an organic pollutant, oxalate. Results of the chemosensing studies of 1 toward common anions show that only oxalate selectively induces naked-eye colorimetric and luminometric responses with method detection limits down to 78.7 and 5.5 ppm, respectively from 1. Meanwhile, results of the photo-degradation studies of 1 toward oxalate show that the dissolved organic carbon content of oxalate decreased and reached complete mineralization into CO₂ within 6 hours. Complex 1 was also found as the catalyst that amplified the detection signal toward oxalate. Through the photoassisted Fenton reaction by 1, methyl orange, an additional coloring agent, could be degraded so that the visual detection limit of 1 toward oxalate was magnified 50 times from 100 to 2 ppm. The detection, degradation, mineralization and signal amplification were found applicable in real water bodies such as river, pond and underground water with excellent recoveries and relative standard deviation. Copyright © 2014 Royal Society of Chemistry.