There is an increasing concern for potentially hazardous metals pollution, which can threaten crops production and human health. In this study, the spatial distribution and environmental risks of eight heavy metals in surface soil samples collected from the paddy fields in Yongshuyu irrigation area, Northeast China were investigated. The mean concentrations of Pb, Cr, Cu, Ni, Zn, Cd, Hg and As were 34.6 ±4.67, 82.8 ±9.51, 17.3 ±4.09, 21.2 ±12.0, 88.6 ±17.9, 0.18 ±0.15, 0.22 ±0.07 and 8.77 ±2.47 mg/kg, respectively, which were slightly higher than their corresponding background values of Jilin Province, indicating enrichment of these metals in the paddy soils, especially for Ni, Cd and Hg. The spatial distribution of heavy metals was closely correlated with local anthropogenic activities, such as agricultural production, mining and transportation. The hot-spot areas of As and Cd were mainly concentrated in the up-midstream where were associated with agricultural activities. Cr and Cu showed similar spatial distributions with hot-spot areas distributed the whole irrigation area uniformly. Ni was mainly distributed in the downstream where Ni quarries concentrated, while the spatial distribution patterns of Hg was mainly located in the upstream and downstream where the soil was significantly influenced by irrigation and coal mining emission. The spatial distributions of Pb and Zn were mainly concentrated along the highway side. The pollution levels of Yongshuyu irrigation area were estimated through index of geo-accumulation (Igeo), Nemerow integrated pollution index (NIPI) and potential ecological risk index (PERI). The results showed that Cd and Hg were the main pollutants in the study area. Health risk assessment results indicated that children were in higher non-carcinogenic and carcinogenic risks than adults with the carcinogenic metal of As. Ingestion was the main exposure pathway to non-carcinogenic and carcinogenic risk for both adults and children. Principal component analysis (PCA) indicated that Cr and Cu were mainly from parent materials, while Cd and As were mainly affected by agricultural activities. Pb and Zn were controlled by traffic activities, and the accumulations of Ni and Hg were associated with mining activities. This study would be valuable for preventing heavy metals inputs and safety in rice production of the Songhua river basin.