In this study, nine heavy metals (Cd, Cr, As, Hg, Pb, Cu, Ni, Be, Sb) in typical river sediments of Wujin and Yixing, two cities on the west bank of Taihu Lake, were determined. Variety of statistical methods were applied to analyze the distribution, sources, pollution status and the potential ecological risk of these metals. The results showed that the mean concentrations for most of the heavy metals in sediments exceeded their local background values, except for Hg and Be. Geoaccumulation index (Igeo) and potential ecological risk index (RI) analysis showed the partially serious contaminated status and strong potential ecological risk for Cd in most sites. The highest contamination level was observed in the estuary of Taihu Lake and most of the sediment samples were polluted and under risk. Principal component analysis (PCA), Cluster analysis (CA) and correlation analysis demonstrated that Ni, Sb, Cr and Cu were controlled by industrial sources, whereas the other metals appeared to be influenced by complex origins including industrial, agricultural and natural sources.