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

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Why Are 96,000,000 Black Balls on This Reservoir? 5
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


And from Kevin MacLeod "Marty Gots a Plan"

This is an educational video about the science of water quality.

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Jesus christ, I finally watched it youtube are you happy?!

Автор — polt

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Ain't no one talking about that poor bird...😥 5:51 RIP

Автор — Yuh JT

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Why are they driving a boat in the drinkwater???

Автор — Marvin W

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Are you hungry and have nothing to eat? Just eat one of these balls! They're food grade so it's totally safe.

Автор — Artie Selander

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Looks like the sticky black goo balls that were used to take down Mr. Incredible.

Автор — Forbidden Color

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There! You happy youtube!? I finally clicked it!

Автор — PsychiatristFrontier

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"So the water I drink at home comes from this reservoir?"
"Yes"
-Drives a four-stroke in the city drinking water.

Автор — Gustav Holmström

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Yum, nothing like boat exhaust flavor in the city water 😝

Автор — D G

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interesting simple solution to a strangely complex problem...

Автор — Terry Tupling

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Dude said "What" in the background around 0:25 and my surround sound almost made me piss myself.

Автор — Derby

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Veritasium: It’s really rare to see 96 million of anything

Sand grains: Am I joke to you?

Автор — Tiznado

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While the rest of the worlds trying to reduce plastic production.

Автор — Cok3 Mcd

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Why having an open reservoir in the first place? Why not enclosed watertowers?

Автор — Frederik19951995

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So there is filtration, THEN an open reservoir with homes at the end? Brilliant...

Автор — LM

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5:51 Did you see the bird got suck and grine in the turbine engine of the airplane?😱😱😱😭

Автор — demon slayer

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So this is supposed to be drinking water, but they are driving through it with a motorized boat?

Автор — Samuel

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Known to the state of California to cause cancer warning...

Автор — callme worm

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I watched 12 minutes of Shade you happy now, YouTube. 🙃

Автор — The RCNetwork

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Tornado hits the water reservoir.

Cloudy with a chance of black balls

Автор — Minecraft CoolBlue

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Bromate...? That sounds like really friendly guy :-D

Автор — Thorfinn Galahad