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 • 46 713

  • Aaron Bowley
    Aaron Bowley Day ago

    crazy the one veritasium video I don’t watch is the one that gets 30 million views . anyway, let’s get this video to 96 million views ??

  • 유창완
    유창완 Day ago

    Lets make this video have views of 96 million just for the sake of being ironic

  • BaronVonTacocat
    BaronVonTacocat Day ago

    So, they spent $33 million dollars on plastic balls to prevent bromide and chlorine from turning into bromate when activated by sunlight...
    Sweet, that'll totally work out, as long as people to remember to only drink water at night.

  • krileayn
    krileayn Day ago

    "why are they black? " ---- Racist!

  • heezded
    heezded Day ago

    That’s a banger thumbnail 😉😎

  • Cwb 931
    Cwb 931 Day ago

    Been following you for years.
    Your video on fake Facebook ads turned me onto your channel
    You're a smart dude

  • fabian _
    fabian _ Day ago

    this is your life vest which you are required to wear

  • berni2905
    berni2905 Day ago

    I'm not your *bro, mate*

  • Rj Pena
    Rj Pena Day ago

    Wow! And "daily does of internet" said that its to reduce water evaporation...

  • Ryker Quackenbush

    Rise by State of Mine.

  • Tami Mari
    Tami Mari Day ago

    So the answer to the title is "because aliens"?

  • Roderick MacLeod

    Boba? Looks like caviar to me.

  • matthis
    matthis Day ago +1

    watch his other video... i’m shook

  • Dominic Strawberry

    Minecraft lake

  • Vinyamin Lobchinskiy

    Did that bird just get sucked into the turbine 😂 5:50

  • BaSsAholiC
    BaSsAholiC Day ago

    I find that f'd up for wildlife

  • Teekam Suthar
    Teekam Suthar Day ago

    You deserve this Derek...💕💕

  • Sologuy 95
    Sologuy 95 Day ago

    don't mind me, just chewing on a big black ball, nothing to see here

  • Nirmala V
    Nirmala V Day ago +1

    "it is rare to see 96 million of anything"
    BTS army: are we a joke to u...

  • bras ayain
    bras ayain Day ago

    lego water

  • Scorpy_
    Scorpy_ Day ago

    Let’s face it: there is a glitch in the USclip algorithm that just favours spheres. The more spheres, the better chances of success. And here, we have 96 million spheres.

  • The Theme Kitchen

    You are great guy.. You have counted 96,000,000 Black Balls on This Reservoir.

  • nextari
    nextari Day ago

    "like oh my gawd!"

  • Trovinizard
    Trovinizard Day ago

    If each shade ball is 0.34 cents like he said that means 96,000,000 costs 32,640,000 dollars.

  • BigBakerBoi
    BigBakerBoi Day ago +1

    Since the balls cover almost the entire water surface, someone underwater would see almost pitch black and that terrifies me

  • Данил Каев

    What about carbon dioxide? There’s a life in water anyway. Living forms are breathing. And when you cover the water surface you stopping gas exchange, and that can poison water. That’s a small ecosystem and by doing that you destroyed that

  • Dimitar Dimitar
    Dimitar Dimitar Day ago

    PEHD is not resistable to sunshine and atmospheric influences . Thermal expansion of the HDPE pipes is more than likely and that's why plastic pipes always should be underground . Hittind and rubbing balls one to another can also make them desintegrated . Plastic polimeres are a petrol product and in water can form dioxins :)

  • Vihar Contractor

    When your bro is also your best mate so you call him Bromate

    I'll see myself out now

  • Nathaniel Battle

    Wait, so if they're truly concerned with keeping the water clean... then why the hell would you drive a boat in it

  • skunk12
    skunk12 Day ago

    Because your mom was rumored to show up.

  • Neil N
    Neil N Day ago +2

    5:50 bird got chopped up

  • Tommy Sands
    Tommy Sands Day ago +1

    lowest quality of life L.A.

  • Rich M
    Rich M Day ago

    Did anyone see the significance of maybe this is a good model for a crystal and some physics?

  • Crazycraigy
    Crazycraigy Day ago

    Makes sense to turn it into huge trout fishery...

  • Amedeus
    Amedeus Day ago +1

    How did I end up here after putting the word "testicles" in the search engine.

  • Erik Samøssen
    Erik Samøssen Day ago

    Uhh, why do I get the feeling this is going to be an issue?
    Soon we're going to be filling other large bodies of drinking water with these black balls. How do you think this will mess with the weather and lake life...?
    After that, start expecting all sorts of countries being forced by America to put black balls in the ocean to cool the ocean waters and to prevent evaporation so we have fewer hurricanes.
    Hurricanes can be really sad and devasting and I wish death on no one but they're also a part of nature and are just as important as other natural things like volcanoes so I have a problem with this.

    We are messing with the earth just so we can have drinking water that was already FINE!!
    (btw I live in Texas, I know what hurricanes are like so don't try to say I don't know what hurricanes are like.)

  • Zuvuuya
    Zuvuuya Day ago

    Those black balls are there to absorb sunlight

  • Aleksandr Clark
    Aleksandr Clark Day ago

    Showing the bird die was so unnecessary and sad. Saying it was enough, you didn't need the visual. Disgusted.

  • Oliver Jepp
    Oliver Jepp Day ago

    Good politics

  • Curtis Barker
    Curtis Barker Day ago

    Hopefully they thought to ensure
    BPA free plastics in these

  • lincbond442
    lincbond442 Day ago

    Now they just need to put millions of shade balls over the homeless in LA to see if that will fix the problem.

  • Sarah Tonen
    Sarah Tonen Day ago

    how hollywood hides the bodies

  • Gares
    Gares Day ago +1


  • Buford
    Buford Day ago

    That's what she said!

  • Nerozumim
    Nerozumim Day ago

    I saw people commenting about a dying bird and I chose not to watch (never noticed the first time).

    SIVA RAMA RAJU Day ago +1

    Huge caviar

  • BroSandwich the
    BroSandwich the Day ago

    They leach chemicals into the water and nobody cares 🌈 ⭐️

    • SAW Gunner
      SAW Gunner Day ago

      No, they don't, because enormous molecular chains like those found in petrochemicals are easily filtered out. As for the reservoir, it's a big puddle that would have been dry land otherwise, not the Great Barrier Reef. Its astonishingly superfluous ecosystem doesn't matter at all.

  • Philby Tan
    Philby Tan Day ago

    If you're here from the How to be Viral video, Veritasium has done a great job on managing the CTR rate cuz he knows u guys gonna click on it😉

  • StirlingProductions

    Why are they using a gas powered 4 stroke boat engine in a drinking water reservoir

  • J P
    J P Day ago

    I wish I hadn't waited so long to click this. Very interesting video.

  • Mr. Jordan
    Mr. Jordan Day ago

    so, now you have less bromide (what ever that does) but A LOT of plastic in the water..yummie

  • Gendo3s2k
    Gendo3s2k Day ago

    Did LA finally come up with something good?

  • Susan Dunkerley
    Susan Dunkerley Day ago

    So basically you are trying to protect it from the sun, to cut down on the bromide.

  • Nick Mitchell
    Nick Mitchell Day ago

    So if the water is stored in the reservoir after it gets treated, does it get filtered again before it reaches people's houses? I find it odd that the water is stored in an open trench and then piped into homes without being treated again

    • SAW Gunner
      SAW Gunner Day ago

      The missing step you're looking for is filtration, which takes place at the pumping station and in everybody's water heater. It may not sound like much, but it's more than enough as the end to a multi-stage process.
      The Water Treatment Facility does major waste processing, primary (large debris) filtration, chemical sterilization, ph balance, fluoride treatments, all that good stuff. The water is nowhere near good enough to drink yet, so it goes to a reservoir of some type to settle. The mechanic is called floccation, which is just allowing bigger particles to clump together and sink or adhere to the sides. Natural aeration of water and microbiological processes can help this, as in a lake, or screens in a water tank.
      The last step is the filtration, which only requires floccation to be done previously so filters don't get gummed up all the time. You might not think it at first, but even simple filters like sand/charcoal mixtures will scrub virtually all micro-organisms, as they are considerably larger than water molecules. The most modern filters, hardly in use anywhere, are made of graphene that can scrub friggin' RADIATION out of water, no kidding. Being made of carbon, properly structured, they'll capture any ionized particles. Water just keeps getting safer.

  • Faux Wanata
    Faux Wanata Day ago

    They're totally inert you can bite a chunck off of em chew it up swallow it no problem!!! They're actually good for you they're full of vitamins and minerals and make your penis larger.

  • GeneralEagleT
    GeneralEagleT Day ago

    the amount of views ~ the amount of money it costs to buy the balls

  • Mohammad Nadeem
    Mohammad Nadeem Day ago

    as a loyal Veritasium fan...i can't be more happy than see his video go so viral

  • Faux Wanata
    Faux Wanata Day ago

    Why wouldn't they use a fan boat. N not risk damaging three balls. This planets been ABSOLUTELY RUINED BY THE RICH SATANISTS! Three oceans are dying and full off plastic, three land is drying up and full of poison, the air is full of chemtrails and poisonous gas, they're destroying the genetic code of gmo plants and organisms. Earth is done stick a fork in it!!!!!!!!

  • Alejandro
    Alejandro Day ago

    Why aren't the balls white, wouldn't that allow them to absorb even less energy from the sun?

  • Zihad Fahami
    Zihad Fahami Day ago

    Their job becomes more boring as it feels you are in the boat in the land.

  • Ben Dover
    Ben Dover Day ago

    No one mentioning this, but aren't they putting gasoline in the water by driving a boat in the reservoir? Is it such a small amount compared to the total water that it doesn't matter?

  • shawnrusselld
    shawnrusselld Day ago

    similar to boiling point elevation the balls are reducing vapor pressure.

  • Kris Schobert
    Kris Schobert Day ago

    Almost as many views as balls!

  • Parade The Gospel

    Soooooo the water is filtered before putting out in the open where dirt and bird poop or someone wanting to contaminate the water can happen, just water out in the open, open access to bugs too, all open and that's what you drink?

  • SantaSquirtle
    SantaSquirtle Day ago

    Its vary rare to see 96 million of anything

    Adoms: am i a joke to you

  • Peachy
    Peachy Day ago

    I really wanna go jump in the ball pit and go for a swim

  • Mason Arsenault
    Mason Arsenault Day ago


  • Philip Y
    Philip Y Day ago

    so, let's do the math... 3 balls for $1 .. 96 million balls... 96 million balls divided by 3 = $32 million dollars total for those balls... WHAT ?!!!! Better switch to BEER ................... great video !!.. :D ..


    Bros before hoes. Oops sorry wrong kind of Bromate

  • Willow
    Willow Day ago

    anybody want some plasticwater, its totally harmless

  • Henry Torres
    Henry Torres Day ago

    yay bpa enriched water systems!!!

  • Luiz Felipe
    Luiz Felipe Day ago

    "It's very rare to see 96 Million of anything" so says a being made of 36 trillion round thingies called cells

  • TechVB13 TechVB13

    Thank you for the right to speak truth in this world!!!!

  • Luiz Felipe
    Luiz Felipe Day ago

    If I gone there I wouldn't resist trying to walk over the balls.

  • I'm faded
    I'm faded Day ago


    Who knew

  • MX Swift
    MX Swift Day ago

    How do I get likes

  • Chris Schrader
    Chris Schrader Day ago

    couldn't make these balls out of oil with AOC in charge. They'll produce micro-plastics into the water though. Nothing is perfect I guess

  • SangHyun Park
    SangHyun Park Day ago

    The view count on this video will hit 96M soon.

  • Average Johnson
    Average Johnson Day ago

    48 million black men were recently castrated?🤔

  • everything in trend

    *Poor Birds :-(*

  • Ava Henderson
    Ava Henderson Day ago

    thats inposabil

  • Sebastián Anguiano

    Its very rare to see 96 million of anything... sees view count...

  • Ze
    Ze Day ago

    I thought he uploaded this years ago and just resurfacing now thanks to USclip algorithm, but this is a new vid.

    I swear i've seen this video before.

  • Jumping Wizard
    Jumping Wizard Day ago

    I don't trust this man with glasses

  • shut stupid
    shut stupid Day ago

    I still think its a bit shady

  • LeoB Goo
    LeoB Goo Day ago

    For water purity or prevention of algae? Is my guess.

  • lyleng_10
    lyleng_10 Day ago

    WTS IS THE bird at 5:51 fly into the ......?!

  • Ricardo Hernández Ledesma

    Why are 29,000,000 views in this video?
    Oh, USclip algorithm.
    Nice video

  • yuet leng ng
    yuet leng ng Day ago +1

    Is that bird ok? 5:51

  • Ade Rama
    Ade Rama Day ago

    Iandia try this trick but with garbage

  • Cesar Avelar
    Cesar Avelar Day ago

    This report reminds me of visiting with Huel Houser.

  • shyam butani
    shyam butani Day ago

    29 million views and just 3.5 lakhs likes.... Guess what it may have reached pretty large number of wrong audience. Thanks to Viral.

  • Victory Gin
    Victory Gin Day ago

    It takes a lot of balls to distract everyone from the global cultural meltdown of Western liberty.

  • DeeKay
    DeeKay Day ago

    Im sad he didn't walk on it :(

  • David's Zoo
    David's Zoo Day ago

    Ok I did it you mad me watch it USclip

  • Randee MK
    Randee MK Day ago

    So basically your turning a reservoir into bottled water. Enjoy your plastic.

  • codydiam191 FEM
    codydiam191 FEM Day ago

    Wait... if they drink the water why are the driving gas boats and polluting the water?

  • hari_kishore
    hari_kishore Day ago +3

    Anybody here after Derek's new video about how this video went viral?

  • funkierfawn budgie

    5:49 bird sucked into the engine?

  • Slim Shady95
    Slim Shady95 Day ago

    0:57 "why are they black?"