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 • 61 582

  • throkhan
    throkhan 3 hours ago

    graphics sucks water surface has a polongy appearence

  • Naresh Babu
    Naresh Babu 8 hours ago

    India has been using this technology since ancient times.
    Flourishing to the lotus in a pond

  • Cup of joe
    Cup of joe 15 hours ago

    Who else saw the bird get chopped up buy the plane motor

  • Engineer Mechanic 73
    Engineer Mechanic 73 16 hours ago

    Damn this is old... And black still makes no sense.

  • m718o
    m718o 17 hours ago

    Go head, cover the ocean with balls .. 😆😆😆😆

  • Andwele Simpson
    Andwele Simpson 17 hours ago

    So that makes $32M worth of balls!

    IYAH SANCHEZ 19 hours ago


  • Mr Welder
    Mr Welder Day ago +1

    When seeing it , tamilnadu's thermocol selur raj is coming to our mind
    Like it if u agree👇👇👍

  • erving gonzalez
    erving gonzalez Day ago

    Did anyone else see that bird on 5:55 get clapped by the plane engine

  • Marcus White
    Marcus White Day ago

    is it for biofilms? and to stop the growth of bacteria

  • Chad Butler
    Chad Butler Day ago

    so they paid 31 million dollars for this?

  • Albert Dadze
    Albert Dadze Day ago

    3 for a $1, Gosh I need to start a business supplying shape-balls. The supplier hit gold with 96,000,000/3 => US$32,000,000 in contract

  • Capalot -_-
    Capalot -_- Day ago

    Tell me why I saw this video every day for 3 months on my recommend?

  • tttm99
    tttm99 Day ago

    Hmmm. Safe is a relative term i suppose. reduce carcinogenic bromate, increase endocrine disrupting vocs...

  • BrawlLicía
    BrawlLicía Day ago

    Poo, pensei que os malucos iam da mó mergulho na parafa

  • Kaamil Wahid
    Kaamil Wahid Day ago

    So what happens to the birds😑 and doesnt water evaporation cause it to rain?

  • 곰돌슨
    곰돌슨 Day ago

    It might be a horrible experience to fall down from the boat and drown in that dark water. You can never reach the surface.

  • 곰돌슨
    곰돌슨 Day ago

    Can you imagine that is still smaller number than American population? I mean the US solely. And Bangladesh has almost double that. And their land is smaller than the smallest state of the US.

    C-BIDDY STYLE Day ago

    There's another agenda to this... They lie about everything. F'n liars.

  • BT A
    BT A Day ago

    Shape balls?
    They are balls. Simply balls.

  • Token Gentile
    Token Gentile Day ago

    The interviewer is an idiot. Information starts at 3.23

  • Chris Szumiloski

    Who else noticed a bird get sucked into the engine of the Thai A380 at 5:53?

  • noah Dawson
    noah Dawson Day ago +1

    5:51 the poor bird

  • Yasir Foster
    Yasir Foster Day ago

    Yo that title remind me of my gf

  • Grape Fruit
    Grape Fruit Day ago


  • Zack Lunas
    Zack Lunas Day ago

    Spoilers: Because 96,000,001 would cause a value underflow and crash Paper Mario

  • ronin ronan
    ronin ronan Day ago

    Imagine the people who came up with this idea. Must've taken a lot of balls

  • David Nika
    David Nika Day ago

    I wonder if the sales guy at the black ball company is on commission.
    $32,000,000 sale! Nice week!

  • Homanzi
    Homanzi Day ago

    skskssksksksks hurt the turtles 🐢

  • Ian Mackenzie
    Ian Mackenzie Day ago

    Theres none left and there super bese Ian they die twins people die to bring thisninformation

  • Ian Mackenzie
    Ian Mackenzie Day ago

    They create these and maintian these due to bromate assets thanx bromatr adder tmdontbtiuch us they die

  • Mitchell Wisdom
    Mitchell Wisdom Day ago +1

    why not use an airboat like in swamps?

  • SupermanRB
    SupermanRB Day ago

    What about grass? I've seen like a trillion of those.

  • TWX P
    TWX P Day ago +1

    Hmmm Marti Adams....... Omg you met an Adams family member

  • Tommy Campbell
    Tommy Campbell Day ago

    Did anyone else see the bird die from the jet of the plane? About 5:50

  • Alexander Mendez
    Alexander Mendez Day ago +1

    This isn’t going to end well.

  • Kamil Glądała
    Kamil Glądała Day ago

    Hell yeah USclip I finally watched it! Thank you

  • Mario1611
    Mario1611 2 days ago +1

    I'm a simple man. I see *black balls* in a video title I watch, like, comment, subscribe, and share!

  • Anders Løberg
    Anders Løberg 2 days ago

    What are you doing with spreading of microplastics in the drinking water? Why not change it with dark glass balls?

  • David Bower
    David Bower 2 days ago

    Why are 96,000,000 black balls on this reservoir? Because when R. Kelly applied for high school principle they asked everyone if anyone objected and there wasn't a bowl big enough to put them all in.

  • bob rail
    bob rail 2 days ago

    Illegal immigrants 😇😇

  • Mathew Tan
    Mathew Tan 2 days ago

    Has it worked or is this a stupid idea as a reason for the scientist who conceived this idea to keep their job?!!!

  • Alan Funt
    Alan Funt 2 days ago

    Each ball represents a Clinton murder.

  • christopher cook
    christopher cook 2 days ago

    Bromide was put in Army drinks to keep them from masterbating and shooting only bullets.

  • Mistress Mars
    Mistress Mars 2 days ago

    I can not believe that you had to show a bird getting killed by being sucked into an airplane engine. Did you think we were so stupid as to not understand the commentary? I'm leaving now..not watching the rest of what was a previously interesting video. I actually don't need to see an animal getting killed to understand the concept.

  • The Nerdy Walker
    The Nerdy Walker 2 days ago

    All this talk on why are there 96 000 000 black balls on the reservoir and here I am thinking why are there almost 40 000 000 views on this video.

  • Ðeathstîny
    Ðeathstîny 2 days ago

    That, is a spicy mate ball!

  • RakkuAmiya
    RakkuAmiya 2 days ago

    I can’t understand how this loss of bird habitat (and otherwise a complete wildlife ecosystem) can be a good thing in a water critical place such as California? Can the water not be treated after leaving this reservoir before going into the domestic water supply?

  • MatiasYT
    MatiasYT 2 days ago

    Wait, if that is drinking water, why are they driving a boat onto it?

  • That Guy Carlos
    That Guy Carlos 2 days ago

    Okay, the water is cleaner, cool. However what about the water inside those balls? It's going to grow microbial and then eat the ball and then enter in to the "drinking water"

  • Sara Romans
    Sara Romans 2 days ago

    Yayyyy more plastic production....😒

  • Mike Nim
    Mike Nim 2 days ago

    Wounder if this would help the salton sea area?They need help....

  • MarchJude_ -
    MarchJude_ - 2 days ago

    Testing life threatening chemicals with kitty pools eh 🤔 population control ...

    • Adam Cadell
      Adam Cadell 2 days ago

      So this is the fabled black snooker ball graveyard where they go when they’ve outlived their usefulness.

  • KraKyen
    KraKyen 2 days ago

    After 10 years, it comes back...

  • LQD Wrath
    LQD Wrath 2 days ago +1

    This isn’t the first time my girl saw a black balls

  • Habibur Rahman
    Habibur Rahman 2 days ago

    What about using floating solar panels?

  • mk84ldb
    mk84ldb 2 days ago

    My balls have been called shady.

  • Alan
    Alan 2 days ago

    What happens when mould grows on those balls? Stupid.

  • Ardag Soghomonian
    Ardag Soghomonian 2 days ago


  • Carlos Alberto Teixeira

    11:26 Boba - Never heard of this. Great! Watch here: usclip.net/video/Kg4wi44axbA/video.html - Thank you! I'll try it.