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

veritasiumblack ballsballsball pitshadereservoirblackplasticwaterLAlos angelesLA reservoirLADWPbromatebromidewater qualityalgaeevaporationwater supplychlorinesunlightsciencephysicscarcinogencarcinogenic




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Comments 58 843
Hans Hoerdemann
To keep the sun off the water. There, that took one second to know why. Your video is 12 minutes.
Alinutz Alin
Alinutz Alin Hour ago
From may till July. This video still popped up on my recommendation. Hope that I'm done here...
goran stefanovski
The problem of the appearance of carcinogenic bromate in water is deliberately exaggerated. This process in reality is insignificant. This story is designed to camouflage the real reason for the huge amount of chopped plastic in the water. (The truth is somewhere else...) Thousands of tonnes of plastic in water in the form of a 4 inch ball is suitable for the fact that this way creates the maximum surface of the plastic that is in contact with water. Water can decompose everything, just give it enough time. The balls are in a black color in order to accelerate the degradation process of polyethylene on the heat of the sun. Polyethylene (HDPE) contains Desphenol-A (PPA). This chemical mimics Estrogen in the human body. Absorption is possible even through the skin. Further explanations are not needed. This is a great experiment. (In vivo)... LADWP has nothing to do with this. The plan came probably from a higher level... (The Administration, the Government, the gay lobby... who knows!!). It can easily happen that this method is adopted by other US cities. In that case, the only solution for US men will be to find some natural sources of clean water. It's a little complicated mission in dry California, but everything is possible. (Ps- Plastic bottle water is also contaminated. ) "I wear a plastic suit, and plastic is my food, maybe I'm plastic too" ... ;) .. Sad but true.^* Good luck to all... *(R.I.P. for a dead the bird in engine).
Explainer Videos By Lauren
1:28 there would be balls bouncing on the freeways
Gingerbread 123
Gingerbread 123 2 hours ago
King Spyda
King Spyda 3 hours ago
@ 5:51 a bird loses its life to a propeller! lol
John Broda
John Broda 4 hours ago
But its plastic,,plastic breaks down!causes cancer
John Broda
John Broda 4 hours ago
i don"t understand!! why are you having a bout in the Reservoir! drinking water is polluted with oil gas from the boat!!so silly eat thing ever!!!
fvtown 4 hours ago
Marty Adams gives great explanations for all this, seems like a good guy to lead LADWP. He also looks like Christian Bale playing Dick Cheney in Vice.
Scott Will
Scott Will 4 hours ago
Refreshing.a positive story on having balls
David Standen
David Standen 8 hours ago
Let's do some math... 96,000,000 x.33 cents each = $31,680,000. One of your questions should be who got the contract for those balls.
Brett Owen
Brett Owen 8 hours ago
What can you make with a recycled shade ball?
Ron Ernie
Ron Ernie 5 hours ago
You Ought To Be Ashamed Of The Lack Of Input In Your Message. Whatever Course You Took, I advise You To Try To Get Your Money Back! HA HA HA HAHA HA HA HA!
Brett Owen
Brett Owen 8 hours ago
What’s in the water that’s inside the balls? How bad would they smell if you cut one open after a year in the sun?
American Redoubt
American Redoubt 9 hours ago
Why a gay voice? Why do they always have to fag up every show with a homo host?! #GayMafia
V Marc
V Marc 9 hours ago
I half expected to see Sheldon pop out of the balls yelling " bazinga"
Ron Ernie
Ron Ernie 6 hours ago
When were you released from the mental ward?
gabes80 9 hours ago
What a technocratic, carcinogenic solution to a minor problem. Am I the only person who thinks this is a total nightmare?
parasitex5 8 hours ago
The solution isn't carcinogenic. Also, the problem they're solving is literally carcinogens, so is this a minor issue or not?
Amal Shahan
Amal Shahan 10 hours ago
Look like hell.
Emoney G
Emoney G 12 hours ago
Anti evaopration...didnt need 12 mins to explain...ya dumb asses
germanylicious 12 hours ago
I hope this is recycled plastic!!
Paul Arlukiewicz
Paul Arlukiewicz 12 hours ago
I call this weed NASA my nigga lol
Daniel Hook
Daniel Hook 14 hours ago
Animals can't survive with light. Unless that just where y'all hold them
Ron Ernie
Ron Ernie 6 hours ago
LOOK! LOOK! There's Daniel Hook Diligently Reading A Big Old Book. Oh Daniel Daniel Have You Found, That Book You're Reading Is Up Side Down? HA HA HA HA HA HA!
INVI SIBLE INC 15 hours ago
What's with the mobbed up looking guy on the boat with the slicked back hair? Making sure noone talks?
Ron Ernie
Ron Ernie 5 hours ago
Hey Invisible, Stay That Way OK?
rorybone100 17 hours ago
96 million plastic balls all bumping and grinding and having boats driven through them, no possibility of micro plastic problems?
Marius Bancila
Marius Bancila 18 hours ago
So the reservoir is between the filtration plant and the customers? But why? I would have expect the other way. So people are drinking water directly from a lake full of decomposing plastic? That must be very healthy...
J.W. Comer
J.W. Comer 13 hours ago
Because they don't want unfiltered water in the reservoir, where particulates and other nasty matter can settle to the bottom and eventually contaminate the reservoir and clog up its outflow.
ಕೃಷ್ಣಾ ಭಾಗವತ
In Africa there's no clean water to drink.
Chesco Zam
Chesco Zam 19 hours ago
5:49 the bird got sucked! 💔💔
Arch Yeomans
Arch Yeomans 19 hours ago
I now have PTSD knowing this bird died in vain for this video.
Ron Ernie
Ron Ernie 5 hours ago
Deal With Since You Are So Brave! Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that's triggered by a terrifying event - either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event. All That For A Little Bird With A Little Bill? You Are The Loose Screw In The Whole Works Pal! Everyone Take A Moment Of Silence For This Victim Of PTSD.
checkdray 20 hours ago
Why don't they use an Air boat aka Fan boat ?
Brownie McCocoa
Brownie McCocoa 20 hours ago
I'm pretty sure all those black balls showed up because there's a lot of hot white women nearby. That's how it works
Officer Meow Meow Fuzzyface
20K angry gay boys disliked this video
Officer Meow Meow Fuzzyface
@Ron Ernie your mental illness is showing.
Ron Ernie
Ron Ernie 6 hours ago
Meow Meow Explain To Me How In Haste...Did You Ever Get That Fuzzy Face..... I THINK WE ALL CAN FIGURE IT OUT. HA HA HA HA HA HA
Jessica Walker
Jessica Walker 21 hour ago
angry misappropriated reassignment candidates...anyone got 2020 in their sights?
Dee Dee
Dee Dee 22 hours ago
Worthless RUvid AI algorithm spam
Ann Reyes
Ann Reyes 22 hours ago
Cool video
DAVID Mc__________
DAVID Mc__________ 22 hours ago
Bromide, chloride, fluoride are ALL bad forms halide; all bad halogens. Iodide is the only beneficial one. Ok, some scientist is going to say this all technically wrong but.....Any fluoride, fluordine, bromide, bromine, bromain, chloride, chlorine are bad. Iodine is the only halogen that is good for human beings. Yes, a couple compounds may be wrong or nonexistant and my grammar incorrect, however, I believe many will get the gist of what I am saying.
Khankhisto 23 hours ago
Why wouldn't they just filter the water as it leaves the reservoir? This probably fucked up the ecosystem for any wildlife that lived there.
Eclipse1077 9 hours ago
Wildlife isn't really supposed to live there...
buck ewer
buck ewer Day ago
Cyrus Burke
Cyrus Burke Day ago
What would happen if someone fell off the boat? Can you swim in that?
Ron Ernie
Ron Ernie 6 hours ago
They would be chewed up by the PIRANHA feeding frenzy and you would just drink them down. Are you one of those folks who believe the only thing in reservoir water is pristine water? HA HA HA HA HA HA
鼓嘶鸣 Day ago
if someone falls in, it will be dangerous.
Aaron Frampton
So....why isnt every other city having this bromate problem?
MovieViking 7 hours ago
Because not every city uses open reservoirs
milinda Vashishth
This is so unnatural solution, blocking sun ? sun makes water live.. water is life .. live.. hope the scientist could think natural.. so many problems already because of just focusing on solution to 1 problem .. its horrible way indeed..
CreepyBlackDude 11 hours ago
You don't want life in the water you drink, trust me.
Smithdk1234 Day ago
this is why wee gonna die to ouer self what are the do whit all those balls when ther finish in the balls well lets dump them in nature becors good for the nature and wee are smart human ......
Derek Day
Derek Day Day ago
Could you not use a hovercraft instead of a boat? Balls are said fine in wind. But mainly I agree with Joanne Marks below, any plastic in water releases Estrogen like chemicals. I don't like to be racist like a certain president but this is a typical American high tech approach to fix a problem. Is there not a lower tech solution? that does not involve putting plastic micro-particles and estrogen chemicals into peoples water. How about the impact on wildlife? How about the solution used by the ottomans, underground cisterns. see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basilica_Cistern
Deez Titts
Deez Titts Day ago
Because 95 million would be ridiculous??
Tahoedirt Day ago
and how do I get the job of driving around in a boat ?
شفير القيامة
🌹🌷💐 لا إله إلا الله ، محمد رسول الله 💐🌷🌹 There is no GOD but ALLAH, MUHAMMED is the Messenger of ALLAH🌹🌷💐 لا إله إلا الله ، محمد رسول الله 💐🌷🌹 There is no GOD but ALLAH, MUHAMMED is the Messenger of ALLAH🌹🌷💐 لا إله إلا الله ، محمد رسول الله 💐🌷🌹 There is no GOD but ALLAH, MUHAMMED is the Messenger of ALLAH🌹🌷💐 لا إله إلا الله ، محمد رسول الله 💐🌷🌹 There is no GOD but ALLAH, MUHAMMED is the Messenger of ALLAH🌹🌷💐 لا إله إلا الله ، محمد رسول الله 💐🌷🌹 There is no GOD but ALLAH, MUHAMMED is the Messenger of ALLAH
Tanja Isabel Aebischer
1:27 This guy really looks and sounds like Christian Bale as Dick Cheney in Vice!
Jouc12 _
Jouc12 _ Day ago
I thought based on the title that this was about the million man march.
Smoke YaSs
Smoke YaSs Day ago
so some suckerass of a berkley student can make the world a better place by whoring himselfs out to a buncha degenerated asshats on YT to fall for his crapass clickbait. the fukc is wrong with the tube lately. it was always a fkn dirthole but lately we went from dirty to filthy.
Jeff Waller
Jeff Waller Day ago
Why not 100,000,000? ...104,000,000? Maxed out the credit card?
Ron Ernie
Ron Ernie 5 hours ago
The Idiots Are Coming Forth In Droves, Hi Jeff Stop Back When Your IQ Hits 10! HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!
Jeff Waller
Jeff Waller Day ago
Seems like white balls would reflect heat and cool the surface better than black.
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