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

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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.

Published on


May 10, 2019




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Comments 61 219
Fartyboss :o
Fartyboss :o 11 hours ago
Wow 96 million of them Did you count those 1 by 1 or did you lie Is your next video 97 million grains of sand
The real FBI
The real FBI 12 hours ago
Protesters for climate change: PoLlUtIoN!
Shamanth K S
Shamanth K S 13 hours ago
What about the aquatic life in the reservoir?
Tony Crawford
Tony Crawford 14 hours ago
*Meanwhile in ya mom's mouth*
Princess Snowfur
Princess Snowfur 14 hours ago
*Mr. Incredible has left the chat*
Clayton Paul
Clayton Paul 14 hours ago
Sorta looks like iron man
ka ka
ka ka 16 hours ago
為了防癌,生態浩劫 Caused the extinction of birds, but also so happy to laugh, the Americans are too abnormal
Imiaze 16 hours ago
This video has been recommended to me for 5 months straight.
Frank Ferguson
Frank Ferguson 17 hours ago
"Like, why are they black"
R A N D O M _ T O X I C _W E E B
huh youtube recommended me a video about black balls... *i clicked it as if i was interested* ...
Daniel Cloud
Daniel Cloud 19 hours ago
Hold tf up bromide is deadly
Cupcake Girl
Cupcake Girl 22 hours ago
5:52 ...poor bird
Hipsters & Hippies
Hipsters & Hippies 23 hours ago
Why is the gasoline powered boat in the drinking water? But everyone is so asking questions about if the shade balls are safe to be in the drinking water. I’m sure that no cancerous carcinogens in the residue from the gas and possibly oil residue.....🤦🏻‍♂️
What about Flex Tape or Flex Seal Liquid Big up Phil Swift
Jin Won Kim
Jin Won Kim Day ago
Did you guys see the bird getting shredded? Into the engine shredded out the back? You can hear it!!!! 5:52
Howard Johnson
How will they be replaced?
OhMy MyM
OhMy MyM Day ago
Yeah, another reason to stay in California. Highest taxes, Highest Gas prices, and food grade Shade balls....Right! am i supposed to trust you clowns that have human poop squads. The more I listen the more i think Trump is right. My paycheck stub shows too many deductions to support you idiots. Moving out..
Micah on The mic
tag g
tag g Day ago
30 million dollars... wow
Kerui Yang
Kerui Yang Day ago
They should have made them white, it’ll reflect light which will reduce the effects of climate change and global warming
ILikeGamesToo - King of Discord
“Why are they black?”
Gg trick shots
Cause why not
Abdulla Faruque
Did anyone see the bird sucked into the engine turbine of the plane?
Louigi Verona
Was just passing the reservoir a couple of weeks back. We did not stop, but saw the shade balls from the car!
Matt 2x
Matt 2x Day ago
Lmao dudes saw 96 million black balls...
Mabeth Ychon
Mabeth Ychon Day ago
Their black for a reason cause we need to end racism
Mabeth Ychon
Mabeth Ychon Day ago
Guys who doesn’t know what’s shade ball’s:Quit Littering!
AcerX Gaming
AcerX Gaming Day ago
5:50 why just why
Maria V. S.
Maria V. S. Day ago
Should summarise in simple language at beginning and end for simple people around the world to understand what is the purpose ..???
wesam zaitoun
Aurora Borealisin Norway ,Have you seen? Do you like waterfalls, mountains, nature and snow? Follow my account and send a letter if you want tourism in Norway 😊 snapchat:wzaitoun8
Mel Khalid
Mel Khalid Day ago
Atoms,..am I a joke?
Jay Monty
Jay Monty Day ago
tim smith
tim smith Day ago
Just another way to poison Californias drinking water with poisonous plastic balls.. Im all for it!! Anything that kills off those commie libtard fucks!! I can tell you I wouldnt be drinking water that had ifloating in it..
Cruz PT
Cruz PT Day ago
Disclaimer: no birds were harmed during the filming of this video.
Giselle Ibarra
RIP bird 5:50
Aka Tnt
Aka Tnt Day ago
Balls: * floods river Americans : POOL PARTY Evrey one in the UK : this is just basically pollution but with black balls with water in them Every one I'm the reps : wow perfect wording
Kenneth Reinard
Isn't that funny bro made us with their spring from these airplanes that is part of their chemtrailing
Sabrina DeVoe
Ohhh, you counted them...
Veron Day ago
0:58 this looks like a texture pack for minecraft in creative mode lol
Woodsman Day ago
Who cares.
Toumase Day ago
I cant believe this guy had balls to do this video
Kendal Gatlin
Did anybody else here what in the video
uno dos
uno dos Day ago
Las pelotas negras atraeran mas calor al embalse y deberian ser blancas para reflejar la luz del sol.
Natalie Collinson
... It's very rare to see 97 million things Me: Goes to beach WOAH THERES MILLIONS OF GRAINS OF SAND 😮😮😮😮
Natalie Collinson
Tyler O'Connor
Tyler O'Connor 2 days ago
Imagine getting stuck in there without knowing how to swim.
Hidayet Kossen
Hidayet Kossen 2 days ago
Because you want clickbait
Phoebe Chen
Phoebe Chen 2 days ago
Who’s thought it was that type of balls...omg I’m just so-
CjH11 2 days ago
Did someone say cannonball? Oh nvm
MoGGeMO 2 days ago
How do you get out of all the balls?!?!?!
Imandee Jayawardena
why can't you filter it after it's stored in the reservoir ?
That Dude Haris
That Dude Haris 2 days ago
Why are they black? *Sigh*
NiYaH’s LiFeStYle
NiYaH’s LiFeStYle
NiYaH’s LiFeStYle
NiYaH’s LiFeStYle
John Aspray
John Aspray 2 days ago
Why didn't they float solar panels on the lake ?
Opportunity Rover
Veritasium:”it’s very rare to see 96 million of anything Uncountable atoms that makes everything up:am i a joke to you
Louigi Verona
You don't see atoms :)
Rere West
Rere West 2 days ago
So what landfill is going to take these millions of ..not recyclable balls because they will be degraded by the time they are useless ? And you can't tell me toxins from them won't leach into the water .
Malulani Tucker
Rere West 7:38 pay attention. They don’t degrade and don’t leach
Jackson Shultz
Jackson Shultz 2 days ago
mbibace 2 days ago
Nice to see people coming up with innovative solutions to problems
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