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 • 61 243

  • Miss Tracy
    Miss Tracy 17 hours ago

    How about the poison from the plastic

  • AllAboutAri
    AllAboutAri 18 hours ago

    this is the reason the world is dying bc of this the amount of plastic used

  • Gumboot Zone
    Gumboot Zone 20 hours ago

    6:08 "Once we deployed these balls, all the birds were GONE."
    Sounds like the story of my life.

  • Itiba Ke
    Itiba Ke 21 hour ago

    His first question was "Why are they black?" Not "Why are balls being dumped into the water?"
    White people. Smh.

  • hamza angel
    hamza angel 21 hour ago

    Can you swim there

  • Peyton Phipps
    Peyton Phipps 21 hour ago +1

    Yo I didnโ€™t know microbots from big hero six was a thing๐Ÿ˜ญ

  • Jimmy Flores
    Jimmy Flores 22 hours ago

    How incredibly cost-efficient; I wish most government projects were like this

  • The_Real _Naruto_Uzumaki

    11:30 yesssssss

  • Just me
    Just me Day ago

    This is just too deep for me to understand so I'm not going to watch anymore of this video bye

  • Thegeneralms1
    Thegeneralms1 Day ago

    Just like driving a boat in ice

  • Christina Annabel

    $32,000,000 for all those balls!!!!!!!! I hope the return on the investment was good.

  • Harley Berge
    Harley Berge Day ago

    Did you see that bird get sucked into the jet engine on that plane?

  • Michael Bramlett

    I KNOW why. It's well known that black balls increase testosterone.

  • Geej1138
    Geej1138 Day ago

    Is that the only body of water that has them placed on it?

  • miickey505
    miickey505 Day ago

    And have a machine throwing Gasolina all over the place ...

  • Fartyboss :o
    Fartyboss :o Day ago +1

    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 Day ago

    Protesters for climate change: PoLlUtIoN!

  • Shamanth K S
    Shamanth K S Day ago

    What about the aquatic life in the reservoir?

  • Tony Crawford
    Tony Crawford Day ago

    *Meanwhile in ya mom's mouth*

  • Princess Snowfur

    *Mr. Incredible has left the chat*

  • Clayton Paul
    Clayton Paul Day ago

    Sorta looks like iron man

  • ka ka
    ka ka Day ago

    Caused the extinction of birds, but also so happy to laugh, the Americans are too abnormal

  • Imiaze
    Imiaze Day ago

    This video has been recommended to me for 5 months straight.

  • Frank Ferguson
    Frank Ferguson Day 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 Day ago

    Hold tf up bromide is deadly

  • Cupcake Girl
    Cupcake Girl Day ago

    5:52 ...poor bird

  • Hipsters & Hippies

    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. Iโ€™m sure that no cancerous carcinogens in the residue from the gas and possibly oil residue.....๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿปโ€โ™‚๏ธ

  • LegendaryFish
    LegendaryFish Day ago +1

    What about Flex Tape or Flex Seal Liquid

    Big up Phil Swift

  • Jin Won Kim
    Jin Won Kim Day ago +1

    Did you guys see the bird getting shredded? Into the engine shredded out the back? You can hear it!!!! 5:52

  • Howard Johnson
    Howard Johnson Day ago

    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
    Micah on The mic 2 days ago


  • tag g
    tag g 2 days ago

    30 million dollars... wow

  • Kerui Yang
    Kerui Yang 2 days ago +2

    They should have made them white, itโ€™ll reflect light which will reduce the effects of climate change and global warming

  • ILikeGamesToo - King of Discord

    โ€œWhy are they black?โ€

  • Abdulla Faruque
    Abdulla Faruque 2 days ago

    Did anyone see the bird sucked into the engine turbine of the plane?

  • Louigi Verona
    Louigi Verona 2 days ago

    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 2 days ago

    Lmao dudes saw 96 million black balls...

  • Mabeth Ychon
    Mabeth Ychon 2 days ago +1

    Their black for a reason cause we need to end racism

  • Mabeth Ychon
    Mabeth Ychon 2 days ago +2

    Guys who doesnโ€™t know whatโ€™s shade ballโ€™s:Quit Littering!

  • AcerX Gaming
    AcerX Gaming 2 days ago

    5:50 why just why

  • Maria V. S.
    Maria V. S. 2 days ago +1

    Should summarise in simple language at beginning and end for simple people around the world to understand what is the purpose ..???

  • wesam zaitoun
    wesam zaitoun 2 days ago

    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 ๐Ÿ˜Š

  • Mel Khalid
    Mel Khalid 2 days ago

    Atoms,..am I a joke?

  • Jay Monty
    Jay Monty 2 days ago


  • tim smith
    tim smith 2 days 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 2 days ago +6

    Disclaimer: no birds were harmed during the filming of this video.

  • Giselle Ibarra
    Giselle Ibarra 2 days ago

    RIP bird 5:50

  • Aka Tnt
    Aka Tnt 2 days ago +1

    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
    Kenneth Reinard 2 days ago

    Isn't that funny bro made us with their spring from these airplanes that is part of their chemtrailing

  • Sabrina DeVoe
    Sabrina DeVoe 2 days ago

    Ohhh, you counted them...

  • Veron
    Veron 2 days ago

    0:58 this looks like a texture pack for minecraft in creative mode lol

  • Woodsman
    Woodsman 2 days ago

    Who cares.

  • Toumase
    Toumase 2 days ago +1

    I cant believe this guy had balls to do this video

  • Kendal Gatlin
    Kendal Gatlin 2 days ago +1

    Did anybody else here what in the video

  • uno dos
    uno dos 2 days ago

    Las pelotas negras atraeran mas calor al embalse y deberian ser blancas para reflejar la luz del sol.

  • Natalie Collinson
    Natalie Collinson 2 days ago +1

    It's very rare to see 97 million things
    Me: Goes to beach WOAH THERES MILLIONS OF GRAINS OF SAND ๐Ÿ˜ฎ๐Ÿ˜ฎ๐Ÿ˜ฎ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

  • Natalie Collinson
    Natalie Collinson 2 days ago


  • Tyler O'Connor
    Tyler O'Connor 2 days ago +29

    Imagine getting stuck in there without knowing how to swim.