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

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  • Published on:  Friday, 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 http://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.
  • Source: https://youtu.be/uxPdPpi5W4o


  • Gamer Awesome45630

     (May 12, 2019)

    They used these balls to trap Mr. Incredible.

  • Bread Leaf

     (14 minutes ago)

    Holy hec your right

  • Kareem Benjamin

     (5 hours ago)


  • Hit Reset Button

     (2 days ago)

    This guy explaining bromate is fantastic...why can't we have more public servants and politicians like him...he is serious, concerned and engaging all in one...fantastic!!!!

  • Each Day

     (1 hour ago)

    +Hx Ee Sounds like a dicktatorship

  • Hx Ee

     (1 hour ago)

    +Each Day not me! i'm a pubic servant XD i serve all kinds of pubez, some swerve here, some served there, pubic servant, @ your service!

  • Johnson B Vadakkethala

     (1 day ago)

    any body here after his " how my video took off " video 🤣🤣🤣

  • Cherry Tung - The Frugal Designer Handbag Lover

     (7 hours ago)

    Yass me!! 🙋

  • rtkThirteen

     (10 hours ago)

    +Tom R An interesting bit of info on the topic of viral, nice work. Perhaps that is why the topic was chosen.

  • knight rider

     (1 day ago)

    Its very rare to see 96 million of anything.9yo army: pff

  • Thug Life

     (1 hour ago)

    +Albert Einstein PewDiePie: T-Gay fanboys these days😏

  • G Culmer

     (3 hours ago)

    Go on beach 96million+ grains of sand

  • TK Tang

     (1 day ago)

    I'm so glad Veritasium's video went viral. It's brilliant

  • Mark Donald

     (1 hour ago)

    But why did so many people care to even click? I don't care why there are so many balls.

  • SemiMono

     (9 hours ago)

    +Iwan says I'm guessing the majority of the views came from users that never click the like button. Only the "hard core" users interact in that way. ;)

  • James Burrows

     (May 10, 2019)

    Bromate. How can such a friendly sounding chemical be so deadly.

  • FAnimaniac

     (4 hours ago)

    +Stubborn R I'm not your friend buddy!

  • FAnimaniac

     (4 hours ago)

    +TopherFM what about San Francisco?

  • jManraM

     (1 day ago)

    5:51 RIP birdie that got sucked in to the turbine

  • ekivenueve

     (26 minutes ago)

    pon efe literal

  • T Samuel

     (4 hours ago)

    +Chaitanya Singh - Not a large enough bird for one bird to destroy an engine. Engines can take some abuse.

  • Sameer Hussain

     (1 day ago)

    Thank you Mr.Beast for coming up with the title that made this viral :)

  • Dan Fontaine

     (6 hours ago)

    Sameer Hussain that's funny because I didn't watch this until now because I assumed it was another retarded money dump video


     (1 day ago)

    Anyone here after watching how to get a video viral

  • Cherry Tung - The Frugal Designer Handbag Lover

     (5 hours ago)

    +Worldwide Countdown LIVE Loll back at you!! Why are you following me?

  • Worldwide Countdown LIVE

     (6 hours ago)

    Cherry Tung - The Frugal Designer Handbag Lover omg I saw you at venessa lau ‘s channel now you are here !!!!! Why are u following me

  • Israel andersonHOME

     (1 day ago)

    Welcome to:Why won’t this video get out of my recommended #621

  • Philip Toutant

     (5 hours ago)

    Squishy GamerBoy 😂😂

  • Squishy GamerBoy

     (6 hours ago)

    He actually made a video about that