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

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  • Published on:  Friday, May 10, 2019
  • 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 http://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.
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Comment

  • FBRD TaterTot
    FBRD TaterTot  6 minutes ago

    I see 96.000,000 molecules a sec

  • rai ZOR
    rai ZOR  27 minutes ago

    The Balls cost $32mil !!

  • Connor Dawson
    Connor Dawson  2 hours ago

    So you can’t swim but you can drive a boat in it?

  • Mo Ferdman
    Mo Ferdman  2 hours ago

    1:12 "Is it hard to drive in shade balls?"
    "It is very hard"
    "Why is that?"
    He starts to answer...the camera pans away, the voiceover drowns out the answer and WE NEVER FIND OUT! I WANNA KNOW!

  • Jayaditya Dey
    Jayaditya Dey  3 hours ago

    Alright. Be honest, bruh. You spent the night with that fine young lady at 6:30, didn't ya?

  • maribel cristelli
    maribel cristelli  3 hours ago

    i am crazy

  • Sara Link
    Sara Link  5 hours ago +1

    Fuuuuuuuuuuckin baaaaaaaaalls

  • Sara Link
    Sara Link  5 hours ago

    First they add flouride, then plastic balls?! What's next, dead ppl?!

  • xiaaq
    xiaaq  5 hours ago

    black balls

  • Patrick 76890
    Patrick 76890  5 hours ago

    Wait so it goes straight to the homes from the water lake thing (I don’t know how to spell the correct name) even tho birds sit in it and other dirty things like that and a boat why

  • Patrick 76890
    Patrick 76890  5 hours ago

    Wait so it goes straight to the homes from the water lake thing (I don’t know how to spell the correct name) even tho birds sit in it and other dirty things like that

  • piet jan
    piet jan  7 hours ago

    The current International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) evaluation is that, "Carbon black is possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B)".[

  • xstingrayx
    xstingrayx  8 hours ago

    For all tl;dw people: The balls increase the friction in the water, so that fast swimming fish don't shatter. There were many fish that swum so fast that they died pitifully.

  • 10TH Religion
    10TH Religion  10 hours ago

    It got BLACKED




    If you know , you know

  • Pritu Sharma
    Pritu Sharma  11 hours ago

    Fake, the balls are paid actors

  • Hagakure
    Hagakure  12 hours ago +10

    Best way to put microplastic into your drinking water. Happy cancer to everyone.

  • Rocco Cosmo Terranova

    usa - where would we be without you....

  • Bo 4 Zocker
    Bo 4 Zocker  13 hours ago

    These arenot 96 million balls. These are minimum 1 billion balls.

  • Rocco Cosmo Terranova

    yea lets put plastic in our waters - god bless - plastic rocks we need more plastic

  • Some Thing
    Some Thing  14 hours ago

    Wouldn't be more fun if they are yellow duck shape on top!