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

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  • 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 • 45 702

  • Tu Tu Poe
    Tu Tu Poe Day ago

    Is it okay for the gas boat running in the drinking water reservoir?

  • LevelFear
    LevelFear Day ago

    Well, I do have my doubts on these balls because I know what happens with plastic in hot sunlight: microscopic small parts of the plastic gets lose and swims in the water. So there won't be a bromate problem anymore but you will have a great amount of plastic in your water.
    I've worked in a storage for a beverage market and in summer there is a huge problem with the plastic bottles because they were stored outside in the sun light. You can taste and even smell the plastic in the water! But there will always be a small amount of plastic in your water, because the plastic gets lose even if they don't get hot. That's why I only drink from glass bottles.
    If they managed to find a way so that the balls don't lose plastic particles into the water, than it's OK but I doubt it very much! I mean: Even the friction between all these balls should pour plastic particles into the water...

  • Jeswen Titomn
    Jeswen Titomn Day ago

    Yeah, let's cut the sun for every living being in that pond.

  • Eric Quiroz
    Eric Quiroz Day ago

    What the hell did I just watch? This was really unexpectedly interesting! Coo-dos to the L A water treatment people. I was amused that it safe to drink water with green ting. Not for me, but I love all the work and thought they put into solving some huge problems. Also interesting that a beverage customer had to point out their testing method flaws.

  • Divyadarshan Rajendran

    TheXvid recommends :me ignores
    Pewdiepie reference in meme review :clicks immediately.
    Who else came after pewdiepie video

  • Daniel Griffith
    Daniel Griffith Day ago

    plastic pollution

  • Granny
    Granny Day ago

    DID I JUST WATCH A BIRD DIE

  • Aaron Matas
    Aaron Matas Day ago

    Veritasium:its really rare to see 96 million of anything.
    Pewdiepie:Am I A JoKe tO YoU?

  • Gabe1971
    Gabe1971 Day ago +1

    Whose here after pewdiepies LWIAY on this

  • Roasted Content
    Roasted Content Day ago

    28 million views on Derek's Channel. @Veritasium this might be your most viewed video so far.

  • Davy K
    Davy K Day ago

    This has been there for years, nothing new, move along now....

  • Roasted Content
    Roasted Content Day ago

    Subtitles vanish after half of the video.

  • rasmus wästle
    rasmus wästle Day ago

    bro mate is dangerous. no joke.

  • Da fricking granny in biohazard wont die dammit

    5:53 that's horrible, bird strikes are actually so common

  • Armageddon Ninja

    This is giving me PTSD of that scene from Incredibles

  • Mayur Valvi
    Mayur Valvi Day ago

    Your video was featured in pewdiepie's latest lwiay 💯💯

  • Kasim Malik
    Kasim Malik Day ago

    The largest collection of DeEz BaLlZ

  • Mr. Piyas
    Mr. Piyas Day ago +1

    Veritasium: it’s really rare to see 96 million of anything
    Pewdiepie: Am I joke to you?

  • Alex FYI
    Alex FYI Day ago

    DUMB

  • Jessi Amador
    Jessi Amador Day ago

    5:50 that bird got his world rocked😂😂 RIP

  • Zion Nuby
    Zion Nuby Day ago

    So theres no fish or wildlife in the resevoir??

  • sty0pa
    sty0pa Day ago

    11:38 = (absolutely nothing to talk about) best awkward silence.

  • Χαρης Μιχος

    Veritasium: It's really rare to see 96 million of anything
    Stars: Am I joke to you?

  • Turkey General
    Turkey General Day ago

    "Why Are 96,000,000 black balls on This Reservoir?". A: Because there are 48,000,000 white skanks swimming in it.

    Yes, I did come here just to say that.

  • Mr.Supreme
    Mr.Supreme Day ago +1

    0:01 9 year army but with balls

  • Giproact
    Giproact Day ago

    3 for 1$ so 36 000 0000 million $ that will last 10 years... is this really a good investment?

  • Ryan Wayne
    Ryan Wayne Day ago

    7:42 Prove it

  • richa modi
    richa modi Day ago

    IS ANYONE EVEN THINKING ABOUT THE AQUATIC LIFE IN THAT RESERVIOR?

  • Jonathan Vince
    Jonathan Vince Day ago

    Ok lets start with disinfect why do you need to disinfect what else is in the water i wonder that needs to be filtered and disinfected? Even worse why use ozone surly if they know it causes many issues why need to use Ozone? So even worse why after the filtering need to add chlorine? Something seams very wrong don't forget plastic in sun light and water also changes in to substances that get in to the water. Something is very wrong with what is going on in water to drink trust is out the window on water.

  • Jiren chillin in the comment section

    "It’s really rare to see 96 million of anything"

    Pewdiepie: *_AM I A JOKE TO YOU?_*

  • MichaelL
    MichaelL Day ago +1

    en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shade_balls
    For EVAPORATION and environmental protection of toxins getting into the drinking water. Also reduces birds from congregating which reduces bird strikes at close by airports.

  • Pressure seven
    Pressure seven Day ago

    Balls!!! Ha

  • Luke Barredo
    Luke Barredo Day ago

    Lol I saw this on pewds video

  • Shakti
    Shakti Day ago

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

    Felix: Am I joke to you?

  • Haikal Hasni
    Haikal Hasni Day ago

    Tai lasu papamu

  • SVanHutten
    SVanHutten Day ago

    The water company building, were Mal and Dom had their shared dream flat.

  • John Doe
    John Doe Day ago +1

    So Clinton has a ball making factory .
    96,000,000 Black Balls At $1.00 thanks again tax payers

  • Hack3rPT
    Hack3rPT Day ago +1

    Get's recommended 1 million times...


    Get's on LWAY.

  • adolf hitler
    adolf hitler Day ago

    *james Charles wants to know your location*

  • Donald trump
    Donald trump Day ago +1

    Try reading the tile with no context

  • Lasse Huhtala
    Lasse Huhtala Day ago

    What about nano particles I wonder.

  • Daniel Range
    Daniel Range Day ago

    57 best line

  • Henri Puusep
    Henri Puusep Day ago

    Hey look its us the 9 yr olds

  • Tirtharaj Biswas

    here after pewdiepie

  • ELChild L
    ELChild L Day ago

    i fuckin like to be happy ok i whach this now im done with youtube jk but just i wont whach youtube for a 1 year becaues of this ......dont blame for it i will not whach it until next year.....NEXT YEARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

  • Shaheer-S2
    Shaheer-S2 Day ago

    Veritasium: It’s really rare to see 96 million of anything
    Pewdiepie: Am I a joke to you?

  • Johnny
    Johnny Day ago

    Veritasium: It's really rare to see 96 million of anything
    9 Year Olds: *ARE YOU SURE ABOUT THAT?*

  • Cucking FrazyGuy

    Who's here after pewds video??

  • noor
    noor Day ago

    won't this be a problem for the environment?

  • The Goth King
    The Goth King Day ago

    FINE I'M WATCHING IT! LEAVE ME ALONE NOW YT!

  • Maksud Patel
    Maksud Patel Day ago +1

    Rip bird @5:49

  • Rackune
    Rackune Day ago

    TheXvid I DON'T FUCKIN CARE!!

  • lalybum
    lalybum Day ago

    Just use UV light to clear the water you bunch of MORONS!

  • Manu Jasan
    Manu Jasan Day ago +2

    who's here after PewDiePie's meme review ?

  • Peter Lane
    Peter Lane Day ago

    Is there any life in that lake? There was !

  • Ben van der Hummus

    "are the balls safe to have in drinking water?"
    Says a guy sitting in a motor boat in said drinking water..

  • Josh Domoslai
    Josh Domoslai Day ago

    It’s to honor the 96 million black on black crimes

  • XSunacX
    XSunacX Day ago

    BAZINGA

  • Al Yeska
    Al Yeska Day ago

    An it's not even enough

  • Al Yeska
    Al Yeska Day ago

    Its an obsession of lonely housewives

  • Cat Mcleod
    Cat Mcleod Day ago +1

    BROMIDE IS "NOT"HARMLESS!! !! BROMIDE IS A COMPOUND OF BROMINE BONDED TO ANOTHER ELEMENT! BROMINE IS IN THE SAME CLASS OF CHEMICALS AS IODINE ,ITS A HALOGEN,AND BROMINE INTERFERES WITH OUR BODIES UPTAKE OF IODINE,THAT OUR THYROID NEEDS TO FUNCTION PROPERLY !! PLEASE ,DON'T TRY TO TRICK OUR PEOPLE!! BROMINE COMPOUNDS ALSO IS USED AS A FIRE RETARDANT!! BROMINE CAUSES DEPRESSION AMONG OTHER DETRIMENTAL EFFECTS IN OUR BODIES !!PLEASE !! YOU NEED TO DO MORE RESEARCH DUDES!!..

  • Skruttis
    Skruttis Day ago

    Bromate is my new favorite word

  • Sedonascape
    Sedonascape Day ago

    stupid idea

  • Нроо Gvd
    Нроо Gvd Day ago

    وشي رآهم يدريروا هدوء المهابل

  • matilim
    matilim Day ago

    I want one

  • dcb1138
    dcb1138 Day ago

    Wait until they find that the plastic will leach into the water and everyone will get breast cancer...lol

  • Wonder Woman
    Wonder Woman Day ago

    It might be “healthy “ to drink.

  • Thiago Alves
    Thiago Alves Day ago

    Swim or sink

  • KkzakY
    KkzakY Day ago

    vengo por el boix.

  • jason H
    jason H Day ago

    5:50 - a bird got killed :(

  • Necro
    Necro Day ago

    Everyone just gonna ignore that bird the fly's in the engine at 5:51 and comes at 5:54 😂😂

  • Clark Lewis
    Clark Lewis Day ago

    Eat The ‘magic powder’

  • 296055
    296055 Day ago

    Ingenious! What if they were white, reflecting light back like snow caps? Beneficial or no? And, since they reduce water fowl is there a negative impact on the surrounding environment?

  • Piotrov
    Piotrov Day ago

    96 thousand 96 thousand

  • RideShareGold
    RideShareGold Day ago

    11:36 "so . . . uhhh, you wanna get some boba after this?"

  • eugene yuri
    eugene yuri Day ago

    why no build one good wall

  • Madman Media
    Madman Media Day ago

    I am dissapointed that the guy never tryed to bounce the shade ball

  • ArchVD Loner
    ArchVD Loner Day ago

    theres less balls in that pond than spots on my face ouch

  • imperexx
    imperexx Day ago

    better living through plastic... sounds good to Californians. LOL

  • Jenna Talia
    Jenna Talia Day ago

    now i understand why commyfornians are suffering from mental illnesses

  • BeatsByMason
    BeatsByMason Day ago

    That's one way to fill a reservoir with estrogen...

  • Dusty
    Dusty Day ago +1

    GOD:"GIVES EARTH TO HUMANS"

    HUMANS:"PUT 96,000,000 BLACK BALLS IN WATER"

    GOD:"HANGS HIM SELF"

  • NPC #Radio4Listener

    Came to smash that downsthumb button!

  • Richard hugh mongus

    Yeah I wouldn't trust those things floating in my drinking water exposed to constant UV rays, plus if someone wanted to hide a body or evidence from a crime scene that would be a perfect spot considering the balls would hide anything that would float up from the bottom

  • howie119
    howie119 Day ago

    Because your wife is on vacation.

  • Dhai Eddine Haddad

    the guy at 1:29 is christian bale when he did that movie VICE .

  • mousqy
    mousqy Day ago

    bro-mate

  • Thurbo2
    Thurbo2 Day ago +2

    "It's very rare to see 96 Million of anything"
    Dude I'm looking at an unimaginably higher number of atoms right now

  • JJ Sevins
    JJ Sevins Day ago

    What happens if you fall into the water? Can you swim with all those balls on the surface?

  • Laura Martian
    Laura Martian Day ago

    Why can’t they treat the water in the plant instead of in the reservoir?

  • Laura Martian
    Laura Martian Day ago

    Seems gross

  • retarded jerry
    retarded jerry Day ago

    96 million black ball sacks

  • The Stig
    The Stig Day ago

    15K negative comments?

  • Lester Baird
    Lester Baird Day ago

    Plastic Poison break down from Sun could affect the water ?
    This is a concern as well - You Must See - 5G APOCALYPSE - THE EXTINCTION EVENT - thexvid.com/video/WBpZFqR6Qzk/video.html

  • DKingFisher Gaming

    poor bird...

  • ALGEBRA
    ALGEBRA Day ago +3

    @5:50 a bird gets sucked into the jet engine!!
    did anyone else see that? wow!

  • Marisol Villavicencio

    why dont you just take out the clorine?

  • Lemonade
    Lemonade Day ago

    I wish we had technology to just put solar absorbing material all over the entire reservoir so it doubles as electricity generator too.

  • Siddharth S
    Siddharth S Day ago

    $300m on floating black balls. Rich country no doubt.