Why Are 96,000,000 Black Balls on This Reservoir?

I took a boat through 96 million black plastic balls on the Los Angeles reservoir to find out why they're there. The first time I heard about shade balls the claim was they reduce evaporation. But it turns out this isn't the reason they were introduced.
Huge thanks to LADWP for arranging this special tour for me. Next time let's put the GoPro on the submersible!
The balls are made of high density polyethylene (HDPE) which is less dense than water so they float on the surface of the reservoir even if they break apart. They are 10cm (4 inches) in diameter and contain about 210ml of water. So the main reason they are on the reservoir is to block sunlight from entering the water and triggering a chemical reaction that turns harmless bromide into carcinogenic bromate. This effect occurs with prolonged exposure to bromate so regulators insist that levels be kept below 10 microgram per liter on average over a 12 month period.
Special thanks to Patreon supporters:
Donal Botkin, Michael Krugman, Ron Neal, Stan Presolski, Terrance Shepherd, Penward Rhyme and everyone who provided feedback on an early draft of this video.
Thanks to:
Las Virgenes Reservoir for footage of initial shade ball dump
Euro-Matic for bird into jet-engine footage
Researched and Produced by Casey Rentz
Animations by Maria Raykova
Music from epidemicsound.com "Colorful Animation 4" "Seaweed"
And from Kevin MacLeod "Marty Gots a Plan"
This is an educational video about the science of water quality.

Comments

  • Tony Xanx

    Tony Xanx

    14 hours ago

    It’s rare to see 96 million of anything Beach sand : Hold my beer

  • Mocanu Catalin Cristi

    Mocanu Catalin Cristi

    14 hours ago

    the proble is that you cannot swim, and you die faster

  • Mocanu Catalin Cristi

    Mocanu Catalin Cristi

    14 hours ago

    did someone calculate how much does that reservoire cost ? 96 million balls and how much money ?

  • Jeremy Landig

    Jeremy Landig

    14 hours ago

    TL;DW: The balls block out the sunlight from triggering a reaction in the water where bromide (harmless) would react with chlorine to form bromate (carcinogen.)

  • Mocanu Catalin Cristi

    Mocanu Catalin Cristi

    15 hours ago

    hmmm that is a lot of rubber plastic, how will you collect them from the reservoir ?

  • Joshua Scott

    Joshua Scott

    15 hours ago

    So y'all drive boats in drinking water?

  • Jonathan Perry

    Jonathan Perry

    15 hours ago

    This is what happens when Walmart buys a Chuck-E-Cheese franchise

  • R.T. Weedermann

    R.T. Weedermann

    17 hours ago

    Now I am confused why all reservoirs do not have these. all cities have the water supply so why does this not happen elsewhere ?

  • Patata0ke

    Patata0ke

    17 hours ago

    they can use white balls. White surface bounces light from the sun rather than the black colored balls w/c absorb light.

  • {feather_cloud}

    {feather_cloud}

    18 hours ago

    Where in LA? Can we go see it publicly? I might have a chance to see it since I live in Cali lol

  • {feather_cloud}

    {feather_cloud}

    18 hours ago

    RIP that one bird that got sucked in

  • dudekiwi

    dudekiwi

    18 hours ago

    Be a bit hard to fish ?

  • Lynne Voyle

    Lynne Voyle

    19 hours ago

    WTH! Just because it’s food grade plastic, does not mean it’s safe to eat! What a dingdong! Just made me question the whole project. Also, I’m wondering why the filtering and cleaning doesn’t happen AFTER the reservoir.

  • benselby87

    benselby87

    19 hours ago

    So how long were people consuming carcinogenic water before they realised the water was carconegenic, and made these balls?

  • alex twin

    alex twin

    20 hours ago

    It soo satisying when they were on the boat and the boat moved it

  • BonkersGames

    BonkersGames

    20 hours ago

    *Imagine An Ef5 Tornado Spreading These All Over The Place* 😂

  • EchoEv1

    EchoEv1

    22 hours ago

    Wow Minecraft has come to life!

  • Morwen Bezuidenhout

    Morwen Bezuidenhout

    23 hours ago

    The bromide ion is antiepileptic, andbromide salts are still used as such, particularly in veterinary medicine.Bromide ion is excreted by the kidneys. ... Chronic toxicity from bromide can result in bromism, a syndrome with multiple neurological symptoms.Bromide toxicity can also cause a type of skin eruption.

  • Morwen Bezuidenhout

    Morwen Bezuidenhout

    23 hours ago

    Camouflaging the fact that water is underneath... The question is why...

  • Wanda Foxx

    Wanda Foxx

    23 hours ago

    Sounds suspect. Those Balls can be filled with any type of poison. Its called Population Control

  • Henry

    Henry

    Day ago

    is swimming possible ?

  • Lim Kok Hwa

    Lim Kok Hwa

    Day ago

    It’s the best solution at this time.

  • Gaming With Stefan

    Gaming With Stefan

    Day ago

    the was a cheaper way, just take the plastic from the atlantic and put that in your lake :P

  • ronald millier

    ronald millier

    Day ago

    why not white doesn't it reflect light better?

  • François Vallée

    François Vallée

    Day ago

    Plastic is toxic. Donald Trump delivers a speech on the environment from the White House - watch live usdownload.net/item/video-fDQuO1nm_NY.html

  • Amanda Devier

    Amanda Devier

    Day ago

    Who wants to see him eat one ..since he is so sure they are safe 🙄

  • Josue David

    Josue David

    Day ago

    Ok youtube, you win

  • bletheringfool

    bletheringfool

    Day ago

    This video was a load of balls. What's boba(?)

  • Joe Inferno

    Joe Inferno

    Day ago

    when the shade balls parted with the water I immediately thought of Moses

  • DanHarkless ﴾Halloween videos, YTPs, & more﴿

    DanHarkless ﴾Halloween videos, YTPs, & more﴿

    Day ago

    6:43: Difficult to prevent a reaction that violates conservation of mass! Seriously, though, I guess this is why L.A. tap water is no longer chlorinated to the point of undrinkability, which is certainly a pretty big additional benefit.

  • Barbara Stepien-foad

    Barbara Stepien-foad

    Day ago

    HORRIBLE

  • Sunil G

    Sunil G

    Day ago

    What an amazing video. It is not just shade balls, the narration and filming are so very good.

  • FinanzFerdinand Beta

    FinanzFerdinand Beta

    Day ago

    Clickbait

  • Simom Breeds

    Simom Breeds

    Day ago

    The dead sea

  • Simom Breeds

    Simom Breeds

    Day ago

    All the birds have gone.all the fish all the insects and thats OK 🤔 nope

  • Greg Good

    Greg Good

    Day ago

    very small area to bring drinking water to the desert ,LA to supply water to Millions of people Prevents who knows how many Hundred thousand gallons of Chlorine being pumped in . Yes the good outweighs the bad Bird poop in drinking water Bad. Your point is taken .This is not natural

  • Du Fung

    Du Fung

    Day ago

    Mmm plastic to drink.

  • Gabi Pina

    Gabi Pina

    Day ago

    Water in L.A., keep throwing chemicals until you get cancer by drinking water. Fantastic job! Clap clap clap clap clap

  • Miklós Dávid

    Miklós Dávid

    Day ago

    This is great. (: In today's world every single problem will have a solution with the help of using more plastics, oil and other forms of energy. And they will all create more problems to be solved by great scientists. Evil circle more looks like it.

  • Jesus and Mary, Inseparable - Flat Earth Catholic

    Jesus and Mary, Inseparable - Flat Earth Catholic

    Day ago

    Great, more plastic, just what we need. No doubt some minute particles of plastic from those balls will be leaking in to the water.

  • I Love Sushi

    I Love Sushi

    Day ago

    That's racist..

  • Ivan Vujović

    Ivan Vujović

    Day ago

    Black balls omg how much african man must be killed for this black balls

  • Motivmotion

    Motivmotion

    Day ago

    youtube forced me this video down my throat for about 3 months straight

  • STHFGDBY

    STHFGDBY

    Day ago

    We have trout and salmon and other fish in our reservoirs and they feed on Mayfly and other flying insects. If we used that system in our country it would surely kill them all off. There is no way we would use these balls in our reservoirs.

  • Waqas Maqbool

    Waqas Maqbool

    Day ago

    What about the marine life in there ? Imagine , living ur life without sun !!

  • bixxybear

    bixxybear

    Day ago

    The plastic is probably not safe in the water, there will be some degredation and consumption of it.

  • Bradey Burton

    Bradey Burton

    Day ago

    Rest In Peace, seagull. 5:51 got killed by a airplane. Yeah. That’s only the point I care about in this video. Lmfao.

  • Sherry Patrick

    Sherry Patrick

    Day ago

    😑

  • Bobby Clemente

    Bobby Clemente

    Day ago

    "The black additive [in the balls] is carbon black, which isn’t supposed to be harmful when it leaches, which is great. Yet even with this precaution, most plastics leach endocrine disrupting chemicals that interfere with animal and human hormone systems (Yang 2011). Some endocrine disruptors, like bisphenol A (BPA), break down in water after a few weeks or months. Some don’t. We don’t know what chemicals are in the Shade Balls, but they will leach, especially because the balls are in the hot sun and are meant to be left in the water over a long period (reports say 10 years). Most water treatment systems don’t take these kinds of chemicals out of the water." --- FAIL! grist.org/article/why-shade-balls-arent-such-a-great-idea-after-all/

  • Bobby Clemente

    Bobby Clemente

    Day ago

    Watch at 5:52 when the Thai Airways plane's jet engine sucks in a bird (RIP) right after the guy speaks of using these balls at ponds near airports to prevent....waterfowl from getting sucked into jet engines. Dang, son!

  • Lemon Drop

    Lemon Drop

    Day ago

    What are the balls made of? Are they made with BPA?

  • LocNinjaX

    LocNinjaX

    Day ago

    they talked abt the birds like they were criminals

  • Lexi Becker

    Lexi Becker

    Day ago

    hoax

  • Crystal Boyce

    Crystal Boyce

    Day ago

    The concept of "shade balls" really does work in the hot, sunny countries where it has been implemented...because they obviously are not the idiots that comprise California government and actually understand scientific principles. By which I mean, every other locale which has utilized this concept has correctly used WHITE balls. Because, SCIENCE. #dumbasses TL;DR: "The only color that does not attract heat is white because white objects reflect all visible wavelengths of light. Black⁠-the color that absorbs all visible wavelengths of light⁠-attracts the most heat." sciencing.com/colors-attract-heat-8715744.html

  • TruthSeeker

    TruthSeeker

    Day ago

    Black Balls Matter! Drink up.

  • NYTFHS Oh Yeah

    NYTFHS Oh Yeah

    Day ago

    Looks like boba, she's got a pretty mouth 🤪 say boba again

  • NYTFHS Oh Yeah

    NYTFHS Oh Yeah

    Day ago

    It's ok to drive a motor boat in the drinking water 🤔🤔🤔

  • Colour Barz

    Colour Barz

    Day ago

    *_that's a lot of black balls_*

  • ShadowsFrost

    ShadowsFrost

    Day ago

    RIP Bird in jet engine. At least it was quick and painless.

  • Bobby Clemente

    Bobby Clemente

    Day ago

    Oh snap, you saw it too!

  • Cause Effect

    Cause Effect

    Day ago

    6:45 7:07 7:11

  • uzzyvick

    uzzyvick

    Day ago

    This should be good in the desert.

  • Taylor Parrish

    Taylor Parrish

    Day ago

    Wait... What? You're telling me that between the filtration plant and the customers is only an open air reservoir? There has to be more to it than that. What if an animal died in there? What if some psycho decided to poison the entire thing? I must be missing something.

  • Nathan Smore

    Nathan Smore

    Day ago

    something wrong with black balls?

  • Toshi Woshi

    Toshi Woshi

    Day ago

    Now I want to take one and bite it😂

  • Mona Me

    Mona Me

    Day ago

    Why not white to keep the surface cooler??

  • Sweetpea

    Sweetpea

    Day ago

    That's still 32 million dollars worth of balls, plus delivery!

  • Sweetpea

    Sweetpea

    Day ago

    I would just have to wonder if they needed the Chlorine Actually. Why not Hydrogen Peroxide? H2O2? And skip the "shade ball" wildness? Maybe they should still be in the chem/plant lab? What about plants? The plastic balls are weird, not to mention expensive.

  • Taghreed Sobhi

    Taghreed Sobhi

    Day ago

    Anyone else is allergic or has trypanophobia who got bothered by just seeing the clustered black balls? It feels uncomfortable. May we heal one day and be back here to enjoy this!!!!

  • Oscar Gutierrez

    Oscar Gutierrez

    Day ago

    Is this in Sylmar California??

  • Andrew Martin

    Andrew Martin

    Day ago

    They should never ride a boat in the reservoir!!!! People drink the water dahhh

  • [SGL] Gaming

    [SGL] Gaming

    Day ago

    the question i had in mind was: Will blocking the sunlight cause microbes to multiply in the water ?!

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