The occurrence of titanium dioxide nanoparticle (TNP), an emerging contaminant, in Taihu Lake of China was investigated. Ti was present at a concentration of 224 ± 59 μg/L in the water samples collected from a water source in east Taihu Lake. Approximately 0.19% of the Ti-containing matter was at the nano-scale. Scanning Electron Microscope analysis verified the existence of Ti-containing components, such as TiOx and FeTiOx. Furthermore, Ti K-edge X-ray absorption near-edge structure spectroscopy was used to detect the phase composition of nano-scaled Ti-containing matter. The spectra showed the three characteristic peaks of TiO2 in the samples, suggesting the occurrence of TNP in Taihu Lake. A least-squares linear combination fitting analysis indicated that the TNP concentration in the water source was ~0.77 μg/L in water and ~0.85 μg/g-dry in sediment. The removal performance of the TNP at a full-scale conventional drinking water treatment plant indicated that ~61% of TNP was removed via coagulation/sediment, sand filtration, and disinfection/clear water reservoir. The coagulation/sediment process accounted for approximately 70% of the total removed TNP. The finished water contained ~ 0.30 μg/L TNP. This study is the first that reported the presence and transport of TNP in a full-scale drinking water treatment system.