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

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.
  • Slider Uk

    this guy is a scam , this guy did it first https://clk.ink/DS5KI

  • Anthony PC

    What all that cost ? like $30,000,000 ??that's some expensive boba

  • ช้างน้อย Noy

    Build a house on the ball

  • Ian Morrison

    Carbon black is classified as a Group 2B carcinogen

  • PHBeatBoxTV

    Imagine if all of those balls are PewDiePie subscribers, damn we really are big as a BroNation👊


    well,how many blackballs are needed to cover the indian ocean?/

  • BenjaminEgelhofer

    One Ball = One Like :D

  • Sherwin Davis

    N I G G A B A L L S

  • Baby Blue

    Can you swim on them?

  • Thiago Banker

    96 millions balls... 96 millions of views!

  • Il'var Rahimov

    ступид американ бич. Броматы беспокоят, а то, что на лодочном моторе заехал в источник питьевой воды это нормально? Просто сын мэра города Лос-Анджелес прикупил завод по производству мячей. Такая же пройдоха как Мюск.

  • Bracknell CyclingCampaign

    You could add floating Solar PV instead of many of the balls like this one in uk https://youtu.be/lMraQUjdX-Y

  • bif24701

    Another super viral awesome video Vert!

  • Lorenz Kolling

    They are driving with a motorboat on a drinking water? Sounds like a bad idea.

  • theyoungkid soloburnz28

    0:57 when somebody sees my family taking pictures together

  • Vlad Enescu

    ”Why are they black? and...how much do they cost?”

  • Anya Jidkaia

    i am scared to drink "drinking" water!!! Have to go buy this Japanese filter/ionizer after watching this

  • Don Freas

    I read years ago 1 as you said evaporation.  Then I heard it was to heat up the water to kill germs Bacteria, etc in the water.

  • craftwizrd

    why use black balls?They will heat up and raise the temperature of the water.White balls would have been the way to go!

  • Warrior Poet

    altogether, just a strange ordeal, & besides making it appear as if any earthwalker could simply jog back to shore, the strategy of 'breaking' elemental-effects to throttle (and even harness), those forces, being taken from dikes to disferrence, is, in this way, ingenious simplicity..!! ~WarriorPoet~"IF WE LISTEN, MAY ALSO HEAR.!"~ our days of youth, mind & body often wage an internal battle without regarding it's effects, wits are thought to be clever & funny..! ~ so, in later years, emotional war clashes, until finding balance with duality; as body gets tempted & in spirit, clouds destiny into dreams.. human ?wits spend no time joking a must redefine

  • El Pepito

    The algorithm brought me here

  • Alberto Chavira

    Maybe white color could reflect more the sun rays it.s only a reflection. A lot of balls. Good luck. What about the sun is cold. People living there. I am only reading. You must check cold sun.

  • mcsniper77

    I can't get over the structures they are forming.

  • hen ko

    Robbie Rotten life vest

  • aplacefaraway

    4:06 an open reservoir is between filtration plant and household? doesn't seem very clean...

  • Spex Wise

    He said "At least half the cost of the balls will be paid for". Does that mean this is twice as expensive? Does he mean over 1 year or the lifetime of the ball? His statement makes it sound very expensive although I understand their claims about the benefits of using them (if true) but, has the cost of providing safe water just doubled?

  • Alptraum

    I like that boss guy talking about the effect of the balls. He seems like a genuine guy and not your typical psycho entrepeneur

  • Rian Creamer

    So how long were people drinking water with potentially carcinogenic levels of bromate then?

  • PeterStar05

    Me looking at the title: look at that another ridiculous MrBeast video with thumbnail and titleAlso Me looking at the title again: Oh wait...

  • oOdOdY 75Oo

    Bromide, a substance only brothers share.

  • maurice Gad

    Didn't they use bromide in the UK on prisoners to stop them feeling the urge?

  • The MathsMaster

    It's rare to see 96 million of anything96million molecules

  • OrOrg

    Anyone else here for the crystal-like structures?

  • Alptraum

    Wait, they put literal cancer in the water? Ok then...

  • Pasta

    Oh lovely....more plastics leaching into water!!!! more gay frogs...

  • DJKorou

    Who else came here after the video why my video became viral👇🏻

  • _cypher ghost

    i've read alot of things about this place. and this is the first time for me to sre it completely covered. wow

  • Sodthong

    Just poison the water with plastic instead...

  • oOdOdY 75Oo

    I'm surprised he didn't bring up marine life... Does the lack of sun affect them? Just curious, not going all PETA here.

  • Speedy Singh

    At 6: 49 the guy wants to chomp on a shade ball, because its Food grade plastics.....Doesnt seem to be a good idea....though they have a lot of Balls!!

  • The Joker

    So, every reservoir without these balls producing carcinogenic water?

  • Itsiwhatitsi

    0:16 i hoped the answer was: they are just for fun

  • jefferson

    29M views in 11 days ... and all because you studied youtube metrics. sure man, sure. ain't nobody that good without help from high places.

  • Furry Gamer

    That boat captain looks like the biggest cunt in the world.

  • e mc2


  • Baluga Whale With A Gorilla Snout frog

    Who counted and how much did they get paid?🤔🤔🤔

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