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 • 62 500

  • Daniel Sergej
    Daniel Sergej 17 minutes ago

    Great place to dump a body

  • Umaru Chan
    Umaru Chan 47 minutes ago

    I think someone drowned in there...

  • infinitytoinfinitysquaredbitch

    But can you swim in it?

  • G.I Webb
    G.I Webb 7 hours ago

    Dang that bird got shredded 😮

  • Ed Nichols
    Ed Nichols 9 hours ago

    for the past 45 yrs my company has used smaller 35mm balls as heat retention"lids" on hot vats used to clean engine parts. the parts can be immersed or removed with ease and minimal heat loss. saving on energy cost. the balls last about 40 yrs before recycling

  • dapp sol
    dapp sol 10 hours ago

    Cause it's fat and white

  • Duble Owe
    Duble Owe 11 hours ago

    32 million on balls... makes since LA

  • Dale Prater
    Dale Prater 11 hours ago

    What if an animal or Animals gets into the water and dies how would you know it. And that wouldnt be good for the water Right?

  • David Jon Burke
    David Jon Burke 13 hours ago

    Your looking at least $32,640,000

  • Koma - rzysko
    Koma - rzysko 15 hours ago

    Jak zabrudzić naszą planetę :D

  • Gambu
    Gambu 15 hours ago

    I'm not convinced by the 96 million number. 9.6 million would sound better.

  • helperbot 2000
    helperbot 2000 16 hours ago


  • Mochi :3
    Mochi :3 16 hours ago

    I want to hold one

  • Luis Morales
    Luis Morales 23 hours ago

    They took the water away from birds😡 not cool.

  • Eddie Karabeg
    Eddie Karabeg Day ago

    How do they take them back afterwards?

  • saif minecraft gaming

    288,000,000$ on shade balls

  • Fortnite Gaulord68786

    Poor black people

  • Oviya Naresh
    Oviya Naresh Day ago

    What about blocking sunlight to underwater plants and fishes???

  • Chantel Campbell

    What happens if someone falls in it and theres noone around?

  • Ilike_ Legos110
    Ilike_ Legos110 Day ago

    0:28thats slot of balls

  • Clarence Hodges
    Clarence Hodges Day ago

    What will they think of next?🤔

  • norskyg
    norskyg Day ago

    I can’t believe Californians are displacing birds and using plastic. I’m calling Nancy.

  • steven sprague
    steven sprague Day ago

    How many drunk people tried walking across these balls?

  • Binh Duong
    Binh Duong Day ago

    Take a look slowly Thai Airplan , a bird get suck by jet engine and the back engine look like nothing out...

  • UA K
    UA K Day ago

    After few months, I decided to watch it and I stopped at 2:53 because I read the answer in the details.

  • micheal pratt
    micheal pratt Day ago +1

    What, nobody wanted to give up their blue balls?

  • Dan M
    Dan M Day ago

    How to kill terminator or the military killer robots?, algorithm of depression that makes it.............

  • Logan Howlett
    Logan Howlett Day ago

    That's a lot of black balls

  • Velvetly
    Velvetly Day ago

    Bc those balls look like tapioca pearls I thought they had some kind of giant tapioca pearl farm

  • FuzedSkull
    FuzedSkull Day ago

    Thats how much balls i have

  • Michael Osborn
    Michael Osborn 2 days ago

    Huh he he huhh hehe balls big black balls filled with fluid

  • Clear Esmeña
    Clear Esmeña 2 days ago

    Boba field

  • Jose Martinez
    Jose Martinez 2 days ago

    Omg did you see the 🐦 that got kill by the ✈✈motor

  • Maja M
    Maja M 2 days ago

    The black will. Make the air hotter Global warming right I would not drink this water ever

  • Backroadscamaro
    Backroadscamaro 2 days ago

    Carbon plastic omg where are the tree huggers

  • Mitch Dwyer
    Mitch Dwyer 2 days ago

    Why is there a (gas outboard motor) in drinking water??

  • Jordan Unknown
    Jordan Unknown 2 days ago +1

    Pass food grade?!? This is probably how McDonald’s legally serve them rubber burgers

  • Cloud :3
    Cloud :3 2 days ago +1

    Veritasium: It's very rare to see 96 million of anything.
    Pewdiepie: hold my Ruby Play button

  • Billy Byng
    Billy Byng 2 days ago

    What about the water birds??

  • tea kreen
    tea kreen 2 days ago +1

    Your ID's ILLEGAL #IDsIllegal get your #BCCRSS at Truth billboards dot WordPress dot com #TruthBillboards

  • On ix
    On ix 2 days ago

    Wtf, why you got a outboard motor in your drinking reservoir?

  • Alison Wake
    Alison Wake 2 days ago

    Full of black balls ????? Immigrants perhaps

  • nx
    nx 2 days ago

    a good poisoning method. dick heads

  • polyfenes
    polyfenes 2 days ago

    Why are these balls not made of white plastic? The white color reflects the sun's rays and the surroundings area would cool down and further reduce evaporation.

  • skyᎠ૨aǥ๏n Gaming

    That poor bird at 5.52 died 41 million times for now. R.I.P

  • Cielo Galdo
    Cielo Galdo 3 days ago

    Of course not a joke! Another research of science!

  • espacionapoleon
    espacionapoleon 3 days ago

    Hola veo el título escen español. Pero los subtitulos desaparecen a mitad del video. Entiendo es para evitar la evaporación del agua. Pero que pasa en segunda mitad???

  • Austin Solom
    Austin Solom 3 days ago

    What about the fact that they probably drove a gas boat through drinking water

  • YeetMasterDoge
    YeetMasterDoge 3 days ago

    There is more zeros in after the . In the chance my gf will like me back

  • AutoArchive Detour
    AutoArchive Detour 3 days ago

    This black balls cost hundred thousand dollars. This is where your tax went on. 😱

  • Steven Williams
    Steven Williams 3 days ago

    Wait, what? They were only testing chemicals at filtration plant, and reservoir is between filtration and homes?! I know I heard that...did they get it wrong? So our water is directly pumped to taps from that reservoir?

  • Matthew Brumm
    Matthew Brumm 3 days ago

    rip birdy. 5:51

  • Kay Woods
    Kay Woods 3 days ago

    The bird hates the idea so much that it committed suicide. Rip bird.

  • Killax
    Killax 3 days ago +1

    imagine how hard its gonna be getting them all out from there

    FLORIDA-BOY 3 days ago

    Can’t we get to the point please

  • Noah Davis
    Noah Davis 3 days ago

    who else noticed the bird

  • carlitos fernandes
    carlitos fernandes 4 days ago

    take mi balls.

  • anjaneya tripathi
    anjaneya tripathi 4 days ago +1

    This is so stupid!🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️

  • Ahmad Ilyas
    Ahmad Ilyas 4 days ago

    *B R O M A T E ????*

  • bea flo
    bea flo 4 days ago +1

    4:07 they filter THEN it goes into an open reservoir?