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

  • Published on 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 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 • 58 978

  • LocNinjaX
    LocNinjaX 11 minutes ago

    they talked abt the birds like they were criminals

  • Lexi Becker
    Lexi Becker 11 minutes ago


  • Crystal Boyce
    Crystal Boyce 21 minute ago

    The concept of "shade balls" really does work in the hot, sunny countries where it has been implemented...because they obviously are not the idiots that comprise California government and actually understand scientific principles. By which I mean, every other locale which has utilized this concept has correctly used WHITE balls. Because, SCIENCE. #dumbasses
    TL;DR: "The only color that does not attract heat is white because white objects reflect all visible wavelengths of light. Black⁠-the color that absorbs all visible wavelengths of light⁠-attracts the most heat."

  • TruthSeeker
    TruthSeeker 31 minute ago

    Black Balls Matter!
    Drink up.

  • NYTFHS Oh Yeah
    NYTFHS Oh Yeah Hour ago

    Looks like boba, she's got a pretty mouth 🤪 say boba again

  • NYTFHS Oh Yeah
    NYTFHS Oh Yeah Hour ago

    It's ok to drive a motor boat in the drinking water 🤔🤔🤔

  • Colour Barz
    Colour Barz Hour ago

    *_that's a lot of black balls_*

  • ShadowsFrost
    ShadowsFrost Hour ago

    RIP Bird in jet engine. At least it was quick and painless.

  • uzzyvick
    uzzyvick Hour ago

    This should be good in the desert.

  • Taylor Parrish
    Taylor Parrish Hour ago

    Wait... What? You're telling me that between the filtration plant and the customers is only an open air reservoir? There has to be more to it than that. What if an animal died in there? What if some psycho decided to poison the entire thing? I must be missing something.

  • Nathan Smore
    Nathan Smore 2 hours ago +1

    something wrong with black balls?

  • Toshi Woshi
    Toshi Woshi 3 hours ago

    Now I want to take one and bite it😂

  • Mona Me
    Mona Me 4 hours ago

    Why not white to keep the surface cooler??

  • Sweetpea
    Sweetpea 5 hours ago

    That's still 32 million dollars worth of balls, plus delivery!

  • Sweetpea
    Sweetpea 5 hours ago

    I would just have to wonder if they needed the Chlorine Actually. Why not Hydrogen Peroxide? H2O2? And skip the "shade ball" wildness? Maybe they should still be in the chem/plant lab? What about plants? The plastic balls are weird, not to mention expensive.

  • Taghreed Sobhi
    Taghreed Sobhi 5 hours ago

    Anyone else is allergic or has trypanophobia who got bothered by just seeing the clustered black balls? It feels uncomfortable. May we heal one day and be back here to enjoy this!!!!

  • Oscar Gutierrez
    Oscar Gutierrez 6 hours ago

    Is this in Sylmar California??

  • Andrew Martin
    Andrew Martin 6 hours ago

    They should never ride a boat in the reservoir!!!! People drink the water dahhh

  • [SGL] Gaming
    [SGL] Gaming 6 hours ago

    the question i had in mind was: Will blocking the sunlight cause microbes to multiply in the water ?!

  • Anna Mae
    Anna Mae 6 hours ago

    *It’s pretty rare to 96 million anything*
    Sand: am I a joke you
    Leaves: am I a joke you
    Dust: am I a joke to you
    Trees: am I a joke to you

  • John Smith
    John Smith 6 hours ago

    I only counted 95,999,999

  • Владимир
    Владимир 7 hours ago

    Jelly fish: *watches for at least a minute and stops*
    also Jelly Fish: *Am I a joke to you?*

  • Benjamin Toepfer Clason

    CL is harmful and has been proven to lead to disabilities and lower birth rates. We are all test subjects. -UCLA

  • Goran Deuric
    Goran Deuric 7 hours ago

    Anyone saw on 5:51 bird flying and sucked in motor :) Sick

  • jjohnston94
    jjohnston94 7 hours ago

    Asked a question, then turns the camera away while he's answering.

  • Hely Soares
    Hely Soares 8 hours ago

    querem baixar a testosterona dos homens ...esta é uma técnica para isso; as bolas de plástico liberam xenostrogeno que ao entrar no corpo vira em estrogenio. Não usar nem para banhos.

  • Fernando Iraira
    Fernando Iraira 8 hours ago

    that man is so proud of his balls

  • Hely Soares
    Hely Soares 8 hours ago

    These balls of plastics when warmed release xenoestrogen, a substance that when entering the human body becomes a female hormone; can also release carcinogenic substances and also with its shadow prevent the sun through uv keeps harmful microorganisms. No one should drink or bathe in this water.

  • Dallas Phillips
    Dallas Phillips 9 hours ago

    Need an airboat 😂

  • Johnny Bousquet
    Johnny Bousquet 9 hours ago

    Why am I watching this how did it end up in my suggestions? Did I ever type in 96 million black balls ever?! No!!!🤦🏽‍♂️

  • 69 Candles and Flames Daughter of Zion

    Now every time im on an airplane I will be looking out the window down below for a large mass of shade balls .

  • Donald Sexton
    Donald Sexton 9 hours ago

    Boondoggle, relatively benign but still requires lifecycle assessment on effectiveness

  • Dee Chiluiza
    Dee Chiluiza 9 hours ago

    Did you notice? At 5:47 poor bird.

  • LT Zen
    LT Zen 10 hours ago

    "Why are they black"
    snowflakes: yOu HaVe sOmeTHiNg tO sAy aBoUt BlACk peOpLe?

  • Pin Cushion
    Pin Cushion 10 hours ago

    Probably to stop birds and kill fish just another conspiracy 😭

  • RaZoR
    RaZoR 10 hours ago

    same plastic that milk jug are made from proves it is safe ? wtf I say: plastic in both product is used to make you less fertile. Does not me know the truth but think ... different colour used would not make them last one year on the sun. Where will plastic go ? black balls will last 10yrs ... so no leaching into water ? bs imho

  • Monthlyfair
    Monthlyfair 11 hours ago

    "turns harmless bromide into carcinogenic bromate". Doesnt catcinogen mean cancer causing thing. I dont understand the RUclipr ment.

  • BellaVida BrendaLiveLife
    BellaVida BrendaLiveLife 11 hours ago +1


  • David Briggs
    David Briggs 12 hours ago


  • Royale Rose
    Royale Rose 12 hours ago

    Just smother all the damn Fish

  • Ralph Straw
    Ralph Straw 14 hours ago

    My shade ball arrived!

  • FullnMellow
    FullnMellow 16 hours ago

    The plastic balls are made of plastic, so eventually when they touch each other they'll rub off tiny parts of micro platic which will be found in the drinking water. And it will not be filtered out.

  • FullnMellow
    FullnMellow 16 hours ago

    Why do other water reservoirs not have this problem? I have never heard of it before. Seems to be unique for LA...

  • Vlk Saki
    Vlk Saki 16 hours ago

    plastic water

  • Matt James
    Matt James 17 hours ago +2

    More education on RUclip now then i ever had at school back in the day and who needs TV when you have this place.

  • Martin Cotterill
    Martin Cotterill 19 hours ago

    Do these things degrade? Microplastics in drinking water?

  • StringNavigator
    StringNavigator 19 hours ago

    5:51 He didn't ever know what happened...

  • Wilson Kwong
    Wilson Kwong 20 hours ago

    Gonna make the water smells really plastic

  • John Obbard
    John Obbard 20 hours ago

    It doesn't even cover the entire thing?

  • G Fernández
    G Fernández 21 hour ago

    5:53 bird gets sucked thru jet engine and how can u use gas powered engines in a drinking reservoir??? We have pristine drinking reservoirs in Pennsylvania, but our plumbing is ancient giving rusty or coal ash filled water.

  • Adam Procter
    Adam Procter 21 hour ago

    Much like other good people on here, I've been spammed with this, so, here's somwhat of a rubuttal to some of statements made by Marty Adams. Firstly, food grade plastic "in some instances" does actually contain 4-n-Nonylphenol (NP), which is a non-ionic surfactant according to [Chemosphere Journal]. I'm not saying this is present in these shade balls, but some food grade plastics have been proven to contain it,. Therefore, it is a "possibility" that warrants futher research in light of the following.

    4-n-NP is an endocrine disruptor (ED). The TLDR of it is that this means it can, and does, effect the life cycles of animals and plants - including reproduction [Journal of Reproductive Toxicology], and immune system response [Fish and Shellfish Immunology]. In many cases regarding marine organisms, EDs in certain concentrations have caused sterility (unable to reproduce). Reseserch is still out on the effect it has on humans but [conspiracy alert!] I don't think it's a big leap to see that EDs are at least, in part, to blame for the dramatic drop in human fertiliy rates since pre--indistrial times. A research article from [Reproductive Toxicology] eldudes to the former.

    There a lot more to talk about regarding this but, suffice it to say, stay safe out there. I might actually consider a video response this if it garners enough interest.

  • Thiago Fogagnoli Costa

    1:27 Turns out Christian Bale was Marty Adams on Vice

  • Your Virtual Zoo
    Your Virtual Zoo 22 hours ago

    The poor seagull!!!

  • benjamin lundell
    benjamin lundell 22 hours ago

    Me: I've never seen so many black balls in one place

    Pornhub: Hold my beer

  • filthyswit
    filthyswit 23 hours ago

    Are they chocolate and salty?

  • Isaac Leath
    Isaac Leath Day ago

    If you fell in, would they hold you up?

    • Veritasium
      Veritasium  23 hours ago

      Check out my follow up: Can you swim in shade balls? For the answer

  • Brandon Burns
    Brandon Burns Day ago

    Anyone else peep that seagull getting killed in jet at 5:52

  • Raymonds Entertainment

    Glad I learned something new today

  • Thumper
    Thumper Day ago

    Polyethylene like in a milk jug.... my question us it bpa free? Sorry but I wouldn't drink it...

  • gerry rodriguez
    gerry rodriguez Day ago

    The bleach salesman had to look for another job. Lol

  • gerry rodriguez
    gerry rodriguez Day ago

    They are called bird balls. We used them on our toxic, acidic mining solution ponds at the copper mine I managed. They keep the birds out. The birds won't land on the balls, so they prevent birds from getting poisoned in the toxic ponds.

  • foxopossum
    foxopossum Day ago

    Absolutely amazing. People are so clever!

  • Sally O
    Sally O Day ago

    creepy as hell

  • Hero's domain
    Hero's domain Day ago

    is it weird that i want one of them shade balls not just any i want one of them lol

  • Chuyi Cui
    Chuyi Cui Day ago

    I don't like this solution so much. How is it not also a type of pollution?

  • Alex Keen
    Alex Keen Day ago

    This video didn't answer my question - if you fell in, would you drown?

  • Mary Antonio
    Mary Antonio Day ago

    I was wondering if it's safe to run a gasoline powered boat in a drinking water reservoir.

  • Jeff Conant
    Jeff Conant Day ago

    World's largest boba drink?

  • Joseph Murphy
    Joseph Murphy Day ago +1

    WE BE GOING STRONG NINE YEAR OLDS! Black plastic balls ain’t no match for us!

  • Chris Morris
    Chris Morris Day ago

    They dont roll🤔

  • Kashiii3
    Kashiii3 Day ago

    Great! Filling 96 million plastic balls half with water
    Global warming: laugh in plastic

  • Sharky Playz
    Sharky Playz Day ago

    5:51 anyone else see that bird? Lol

  • Joel Williams
    Joel Williams Day ago

    What these California idiots didn't consider, is that plastic standing in sunlight, & heated water will emit microscopic polymer particles over time, & thus tainting the water, as is the "Pacific/Asian Garbage Circles" are doing...right now.
    This is what happens when stupid people vote for stupid people to run their world. Their tax $$ pays for 96 million gaw'damn balls, that will eventually poison their drinking water. Stupid kills...

  • Dry Squid
    Dry Squid Day ago

    this is stupid.

  • Johny40Se7en
    Johny40Se7en Day ago

    That seems very clever to start with but then you have plants living in the water that are gonna die and rot, and that's gonna be in the drinking water. Would ammonia or something start to form when the plants in the water die off?


    hahahha quality worlds biggest ball pit 😁

  • Markey Wholebrook

    All this hot plastic in your water reservoir is going to lead to something worse, unnatural and ridiculous ;p

  • 11marylena
    11marylena Day ago


  • Feeluck
    Feeluck Day ago +1

    how to put massive ammounts of microplastics into your water. those shadeballs are rubbing on themselves producing ALOT of microplastics. right into your drinking water.
    good job.

  • Feeluck
    Feeluck Day ago +3

    i never expected my bro-mate to be harmful. shame on you bro-mate!

  • Alan Gassner
    Alan Gassner Day ago

    Why didn't they use solar panels as have been experimentally used elsewhere?

  • K T
    K T Day ago

    Very creative to help drinking water

  • Ade Stickbaby
    Ade Stickbaby Day ago

    I'm sure Metallica had black balls floating on their audience a few years ago. Just sayin'.

  • Stavros Libavius

    In a few years they will need to be cleaned from the microbes that have been adhered to and created colonies

  • peter allison
    peter allison Day ago

    And more plastic.

  • Purushothaman N
    Purushothaman N Day ago

    If the sunlight not enter into this water then growing microflora under the water which is beneficial for any living being and which could be no more in the water, thus leads a cause for lethal drinking water, No life under water means no life in the water. Who going to drink this have no normal life on this earth.. can any one thing about which food is non degradable, you and me are all made up of degradable Biomaterials, The truth is like this then Where is this food grade quality coming from the Hell.. O what a Stupidity, using Science to make videos to Fool common Human Civilians.. Bad Bad Bad this is very very Bad thoughtful idea for humankind..

  • Purushothaman N
    Purushothaman N Day ago

    Any thing can reacts with sunlight and Black colour is more likely to observe sunlight in means of Heat and also the possibility is more reaction will Happen between this water and Dissolved Chemicals of the Balls in People Drinking water thus leads to Cancer of Human lungs kidney even Blood and brain.. so people Please be away from this Water.. Go for Harvesting Techniques of Rain water to increase under ground Land Water which is very pure and healthy drinking water than this type of treated Brominated, Chlorinated abnormal water.

  • Michael Katsiambirtas

    Finally watched it! Always in my playlist! Wasted my time as usual

  • UPMiner 616
    UPMiner 616 Day ago

    Because an engineer named Brooke worked there.....

  • nwmacguy
    nwmacguy Day ago

    The drought-busting balls that don't bust drought

  • nwmacguy
    nwmacguy Day ago

    Why shade balls aren’t such a great idea after all

  • nwmacguy
    nwmacguy Day ago

    L.A. Says Goodbye to ‘Shade Balls’

  • NobodyReally
    NobodyReally Day ago +8

    Finally watched part of this and RUclip stopped spamming me with it. I guess these saved the Earth.

  • TheEAtoday
    TheEAtoday Day ago +9


  • Werner huber
    Werner huber Day ago

    I bet these plastic balls are more toxic....

  • Constitution_89
    Constitution_89 Day ago

    Again, the Luciferians screwing around with God's Natural Order of Nature. KILL these Demonic people because They intend to Kill us as part of their UN Agenda 21-30 Depopulation Program. Look it up, it's ALL Right there to be read in their written Agenda for Humanity. Any of you who don't bother to research the facts of this are just Stupid and Lazy and shouldn't have the Right to say a damn thing that refutes Any of it because your Stupidity Disqualifies you from doing so.

  • Jackson Payne
    Jackson Payne Day ago

    That girl is such a stoner

  • Mikeys_wildlife
    Mikeys_wildlife Day ago

    Great more "recyclable" plastic..

  • NoneOfYourBusiness NoneOfYourBusinesss

    i didn't bother watching this annoying video. i paused it before i typed this and went on to next page after typing and pressing send. i've seen this retarded video weeks ago before i realized it was a retarded video. couldn't be bothered to torture myself again. and this video gives dangerous ideas to potential kids out there. i should report this video for negligent behavior.