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

  • Published: 10 May 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.

Comments • 61 729

  • Laman Digital
    Laman Digital  1 hours back

    This thing gets recommended again..

    • MTHEGAMER Reacts
      MTHEGAMER Reacts  3 hours back

      Oh now black is good great

      • Blake Douglas
        Blake Douglas  6 hours back

        This isnt the only thing that's had 96 million black balls in it...

        • Sahil Chouhan
          Sahil Chouhan  7 hours back

          I am waiting for this video to get 96M views

          • Messias
            Messias  7 hours back

            Wenn eine Kugel durchschnittlich 30 Cent kosten dann sind das bei 96 Millionen 28800000 Euro,warum macht man das

            • Ashton Needler
              Ashton Needler  13 hours back

              moral of the story, drink well water.

              • Ieuan Mills
                Ieuan Mills  16 hours back

                What happens during a hurricane? Balls everywhere

                • james12
                  james12  17 hours back


                  • Arvindh Sarangapani
                    Arvindh Sarangapani  21 hours back

                    Sellur Raju fans hit like

                    • Dr IP
                      Dr IP  1 days back

                      0:57 Bruh

                      • Jesse Mojica
                        Jesse Mojica  1 days back

                        0:55 without any context is the most funny thing

                        • Ahmed Alibaba
                          Ahmed Alibaba  2 days back

                          Still here...

                          • Shitty wolf
                            Shitty wolf  2 days back

                            On 5:52 watch the bird close to airplane carefully

                            • Survival Dad
                              Survival Dad  2 days back

                              Because if the balls were white there would be riots on the streets and I would have to pay for something I didn't do.

                              • Adomas B
                                Adomas B  2 days back

                                well, you can call this body of water...
                                the black sea

                                • 陳小哲
                                  陳小哲  2 days back


                                  • Nationz YT
                                    Nationz YT  2 days back

                                    *make it 95,999,999 because I ate one*

                                    • Ronit Tewary
                                      Ronit Tewary  2 days back

                                      After few years you will get to know that whatever you were doing... its wrong
                                      Without sunlight water is dead
                                      Also you r messing with birds breeding

                                      • golden Freddy
                                        golden Freddy  2 days back

                                        How they use white shade balls cuz White Sucks of radiation and that might last longer than black

                                        • Pumpkinseeds
                                          Pumpkinseeds  2 days back

                                          Any one else notice the bird 5:52

                                          • Shooketh 7
                                            Shooketh 7  2 days back

                                            *happy birthday raven!!*

                                            • Evuex r6
                                              Evuex r6  3 days back

                                              0:55 I had so many questions like why are they black

                                              • LESTER WESTON
                                                LESTER WESTON  3 days back

                                                more balls than in the house of congress

                                                • Vegan Caillou
                                                  Vegan Caillou  3 days back

                                                  Me:reads the title

                                                  THATS WHAT SHE SAID!!!

                                                  • Andr0meda
                                                    Andr0meda  3 days back

                                                    World's largest boba tea

                                                    • DivineAlign8
                                                      DivineAlign8  3 days back

                                                      Chemicals have to leach onto the water

                                                      • KUARZOROSSO Children Educational Illustrated Books

                                                        This is why nothing is better than a ball shape... ask at millions of children and no so young why they expend so much time running behind one or throwing ... 😃🤓😉⚽️🎾🏀🏐🎱🥎🎧🧩🏁

                                                        • 王寒非
                                                          王寒非  3 days back

                                                          Wont they kill the plants under water? Because of lack of light.

                                                          • Munjee Syed
                                                            Munjee Syed  2 days back

                                                            Why would you want plants growing in the water you drink ?

                                                        • Slap my ass and call me Hillary Clinton

                                                          Who’s here after the sidemen video

                                                          • mrwhiskers [gd]
                                                            mrwhiskers [gd]  4 days back

                                                            glitch 15:54

                                                            • mrwhiskers [gd]
                                                              mrwhiskers [gd]  4 days back

                                                              5:51 poor bird turned to dust for some reason my dad laughed :(

                                                              • quiotte2
                                                                quiotte2  4 days back

                                                                kto od e-gitarzysty? :P

                                                                • LPS HeartCake
                                                                  LPS HeartCake  4 days back

                                                                  Cool 😎

                                                                  • Throne Frozen_
                                                                    Throne Frozen_  4 days back

                                                                    Ezért fog a föld hamarosan kipusztulni...

                                                                    Ennyit költeni😂

                                                                    • 100pie 0eater
                                                                      100pie 0eater  4 days back

                                                                      5:50 bird get sucked by the jet engine

                                                                      • William Linley
                                                                        William Linley  5 days back

                                                                        Remember when T-Series was at 96 million?

                                                                        • CallMeSomething
                                                                          CallMeSomething  5 days back

                                                                          I can't tell if its the Mandella effect or something, but it feels like this video existed before 2019, like 2017 or something, am i the only one? because it feels like I watched this video ages ago.

                                                                        • DoraDoraGemasドラ
                                                                          DoraDoraGemasドラ  5 days back


                                                                          • N C
                                                                            N C  5 days back

                                                                            So noone noticed that flirtatious vibe during the end ? *awkward silence* .... "Do you like boba?" ..."I luhhv boba" 😂 "I might get some after this" She was totally hinting to hangout.

                                                                            • larden Friund
                                                                              larden Friund  5 days back

                                                                              5:51 will it blend

                                                                              • Drtoadlord
                                                                                Drtoadlord  5 days back

                                                                                BBC reported on this...

                                                                                • hyykhyyk
                                                                                  hyykhyyk  5 days back

                                                                                  I don't understand. Why treat water first and and store it in open? Why not store untreated water in the reservoir and treat the water just before sending it to the users?

                                                                                  • Munjee Syed
                                                                                    Munjee Syed  2 days back

                                                                                    You need a backlog of treated water for when demand is too high California has lots of droughts the water needs to be stored up

                                                                                • KEN FOREAL
                                                                                  KEN FOREAL  5 days back

                                                                                  Man the state of California have bunch of good stuff there Los Angeles always a great my mother used to live there many years ago.😀

                                                                                  • Mahd animations
                                                                                    Mahd animations  6 days back

                                                                                    5:51 that bird went to the jet engine and got grinded :O

                                                                                    • Eric Armstrong
                                                                                      Eric Armstrong  6 days back

                                                                                      i don't get it. doesn't stagnant water harbor and breed bacteria? people drink that water directly gross!!? water treatment is a joke! and after 10 years all those balls gotta be replaced? i wonder how that will play out. also..wouldn't rainfall being infused with emissions from a massive city be a big concern to the waters quality?

                                                                                      • Fer M.
                                                                                        Fer M.  7 days back

                                                                                        La caga esta en inglés y el título en español ctm wn

                                                                                        • Xx_Eli_Texts_xX
                                                                                          Xx_Eli_Texts_xX  7 days back

                                                                                          Poor Bird 5:52

                                                                                          • KING KONG
                                                                                            KING KONG  7 days back

                                                                                            what a sad world we live in putting plastic balls on our water sources