The concentration, sources and environmental risks of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in surface water in urban areas of Nanjing were investigated. The range of ∑16PAHs concentration is between 4,076 and 29,455 ng/L, with a mean of 17,212 ng/L. The composition of PAHs indicated that 2- and 3-ring PAHs have the highest proportion in all PAHs, while the 5- and 6-ring PAHs were the least in proportion. By diagnostic ratio analysis, combustion and petroleum were a mixture input that contributed to the water PAH in urban areas of Nanjing. Positive matrix factorization quantitatively identified four factors, including coke oven, coal combustion, oil source, and vehicle emission, as the main sources. Toxic equivalency factors of BaP (BaPeq) evaluate the environmental risks of PAHs and indicate the PAH concentration in surface water in urban areas of Nanjing had been polluted and might cause potential environmental risks. Therefore, the PAH contamination in surface water in urban areas of Nanjing should draw considerable attention.