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 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.


  • jonasha


    Před 2 minutami

    Would be cool if white worked and it would help with reflecting sunlight and reducing warming somewhat

  • ghalia mu

    ghalia mu

    Před 3 minutami

    Does not this affect the Environmental system? The birds are not coming to the lake anymore

  • AV8TOR


    Před 4 minutami

    That was interesting. However, is running a outboard engine where the exhaust exits the engine under water a good idea...YUCK!

  • Rocky O

    Rocky O

    Před 10 minutami

    So...bromide + chlorine + sunlight mixed in H20 equals LIBERALISM ?? These BLACK balls are a cure for California's Liberalism ! 🤗🤗🤗

  • iciclearms


    Před 12 minutami

    Veritasium: It's very rare to see 96 million of something Me: *P E W D I E P I E*

  • Ben Par

    Ben Par

    Před 12 minutami

    To stop birds and wildlife sitting on the water. Stop algee growth and stop evaporation. ..

  • Greg Lecuyer

    Greg Lecuyer

    Před 14 minutami

    Rack em up!

  • Sebastian Kristiansen

    Sebastian Kristiansen

    Před 15 minutami

    How did i get here? Literally 3am

  • That Guy MUFFIN

    That Guy MUFFIN

    Před 19 minutami

    For some reason I thought I saw this a couple years ago... weird.

  • M. Murad

    M. Murad

    Před 22 minutami

    If someone fell into it, what would happen.?

  • kopec82


    Před 23 minutami

    Excellent video with Spanish subs!

  • Dooby McFoosen

    Dooby McFoosen

    Před 24 minutami

    *World's Most Reservoir Reservoir Loses 96 Million Balls in a Matter of Days - New CHdownload Record!! (NOT CLICKBAIT!)*

  • DGM


    Před 26 minutami

    How did no one notice the death of that bird at 5:52 ?

  • Justa Fool

    Justa Fool

    Před 34 minutami

    So 48,000,000 black men are now eunuchs?

  • DeShawn


    Před 35 minutami

    to save you the work of watching it ….in reservoirs black balls are used to stop sunlight converting bromide into poisonous bromates and @5.51 after listening 20 times he said, 'to keep the wild foul off so they didn't get into jet engines' so if you failed to catch that there you are

  • Candy Wang

    Candy Wang

    Před 37 minutami

    When you have trypophobia, but you're too curious.

  • Ok.


    Před 39 minutami

    Rip random bird that got blended at 5:50

  • LotusLambo


    Před 43 minutami

    Wish I was the sales rep that got paid the commission on $32M of black balls! That guy must literally be balling now!

  • Truth 7

    Truth 7

    Před 56 minutami

    Hey” has anyone seen my black ball ...🙇‍♂️

  • Steve's Outdoor World

    Steve's Outdoor World

    Před 59 minutami

    I would think sooner or later the balls would lose their UV protection and would break up.Yes or No?

  • Super knullisch

    Super knullisch

    Před hodinou

    Why oh WHYYYYY did you never even TOUCH them!! Like put your got damn hand down in that ball soup and swirl like a MAD MAN!!🤪 Especially when the boat is moving!!😛 And what if the boats propeller shreds a few.. must've happened right!? And doesn't that engine pollute the water?? I mean, it wasn't an electric one was it? Ps. Bro-mate.. Wooooord!!

  • mgrn63


    Před hodinou

    The marvels of engineering!

  • Steve McGee

    Steve McGee

    Před hodinou

    There are so many jokes to be made here that the only REAL option is just to make a joke about how many jokes can be made here.

  • Gags GAGS

    Gags GAGS

    Před hodinou


  • sunday briley

    sunday briley

    Před hodinou

    Black is always right..

  • Laura Dee

    Laura Dee

    Před hodinou

    I never knew there were 96 million balls in Los Angeles on anything... 😀

  • Emin Atajanov

    Emin Atajanov

    Před hodinou

    Sippin on straight Chlorine

  • Billie Tyree

    Billie Tyree

    Před hodinou


  • alenuikuau


    Před hodinou

    A Gas outboard engine on the reservoir. Why not an Electric boat that wouldn't pollute the water.

  • Mak Mak

    Mak Mak

    Před hodinou

    talk about being blackballed 😮

  • Ilya Kamenshchikov

    Ilya Kamenshchikov

    Před hodinou

    its really rare to have 96 million views

  • Utkarsh Mishra

    Utkarsh Mishra

    Před hodinou

    Derek: it's very rare to see 96 million of anything Pewds: yeah? Look at my subscribers, I'm almost there.

  • Mike Breler

    Mike Breler

    Před 2 hodinami

    In Seattle we have many open water reservoirs and I'm sure the same problem exists with carcinogens but of course no one is even talking about the issue or trying to solve it. The politicians are all too busy trying to figure out how to collect more taxes to spend on their pet projects.

  • Andrew Lexima

    Andrew Lexima

    Před 2 hodinami

    I feel like I could run across the surface of the black balls if I run fast enough

  • Mike Breler

    Mike Breler

    Před 2 hodinami

    In Seattle Washington we have many open water resivuors

  • Waheed Hassan

    Waheed Hassan

    Před 2 hodinami


  • Dennis Murphy

    Dennis Murphy

    Před 2 hodinami

    Bromide is not harmless. One of the three BAD halogens. Effects the thyroid. Chlorine also a bad halogen, the other being fluoride. Think about it.

  • The Bliss

    The Bliss

    Před 2 hodinami

    To keep water from evaporating.

  • Diogo Cabanas

    Diogo Cabanas

    Před 2 hodinami

    If not for the durability carbon black provides, the balls would be more efficient if they were white right?



    Před 2 hodinami

    5:50 R.I.P speckled bird @ least yo u got 30M views (MAYBE)

  • RadWaffle Wafflearmy

    RadWaffle Wafflearmy

    Před 2 hodinami

    Veritasium: it's really rare to see 96 million of anything Pewdiepie fans: Am I a joke to you

  • Claudia De Falco

    Claudia De Falco

    Před 2 hodinami

    Is it safe for a motor boat to roam around in the reservoir?

  • Torri Hixon

    Torri Hixon

    Před 2 hodinami

    Who else is here from the "my video went viral" video to watch the viral video lol?

  • SunsetColors


    Před 2 hodinami

    The SHADE balls are black to keep light out of the water Wow Congrats A new fact

  • KingBadMasterCory


    Před 2 hodinami

    LA sux!!!!!

  • J-Money GDK

    J-Money GDK

    Před 2 hodinami

    this is gay

  • Coiled Steel

    Coiled Steel

    Před 2 hodinami

    Good thing not "Blue Balls," but that's another video! 💃😁🤣

  • MI CR

    MI CR

    Před 2 hodinami

    Se ve bien kulero eso en el agua!!

  • HerbsPlusBeadWorks


    Před 2 hodinami

    unreal ~ now what happens when the water now gets heated ~ heating the bromate and chlorine and what about the release of the chemicals they are used to make them~ nano in the water--carbon black ~ WTF !!!!! this is going to release into the water and cause environmental \~ what this guy is saying is totally BS ~ everyone better get a RO or distiller ~ the cancer rates and the auto immune is going to spike Tony

  • Justin Loehmer

    Justin Loehmer

    Před 2 hodinami

    The black balls are there to keep the water from evaporating

  • Gargoyle McCoyle

    Gargoyle McCoyle

    Před 2 hodinami


  • jleettriple7


    Před 2 hodinami

    So they were worried about carcinogens, so they put a bunch of plastic balls in the water........🤔😑

  • Daniel Schrock

    Daniel Schrock

    Před 2 hodinami

    “Did you think they were nuts” 🤣🤣🤣

  • John Neal

    John Neal

    Před 3 hodinami

    Is that billy Joel working undercover driving that boat!lol



    Před 3 hodinami




    Před 3 hodinami

    I was going over the Grapevine a couple of months ago and I saw the reservoir and was completely baffled by what was floating on top of it. Now I know. Great post.

  • Alexandre Loens

    Alexandre Loens

    Před 3 hodinami

    So water goes from filtering to laying in open air before getting to the peoples house.. I can see nothing wrong??

  • bbgirlivanvanessa


    Před 3 hodinami

    Did you see that? That airplane engine suctioned a bird. ☹️

  • bbgirlivanvanessa


    Před 3 hodinami

    Minute 5:50-5:52

  • Sparkyroots


    Před 3 hodinami

    Okay, so why didnt he get into how unsafe it must be to fall in!!

  • Wayne's herman

    Wayne's herman

    Před 3 hodinami

    Why is there a motor boat in drinking water

  • Alice Jackson

    Alice Jackson

    Před 3 hodinami

    Yes more plastic chemicals im the drinking water, fumny thought the sunlight sterilises.. would prefer the algae.

  • Jesse Mock

    Jesse Mock

    Před 3 hodinami

    Worried about the balls leaching, but driving through the reservoir with a 4 stroke gas motor?!Too funny! At least the balls cover up anyone seeing the oil spilling out of the engine 😂

  • Frontend


    Před 3 hodinami

    Before long it will be 96 million tons of my blue balls on that Resevoir

  • Goog Goo

    Goog Goo

    Před 3 hodinami

    I dunno call me old fashion but I dont want anyone putting anything in my drinking water, fluoride and black balls including

  • PAS3 TH3RiCH3Z

    PAS3 TH3RiCH3Z

    Před 3 hodinami


  • Phong Le

    Phong Le

    Před 3 hodinami


  • Michael Phillips

    Michael Phillips

    Před 3 hodinami

    How does the black carbon die help reduce the breakdown of the plastic via solar energy? Does it strengthen the bonds in the plastic?

  • Mad man

    Mad man

    Před 3 hodinami

    Nope, its kinda like melanin in human skin. It absorbs the light, e.g. it transforms light photons into heat energy in safe manner, instead of letting photons hit chemical bonds in polymer structure that can break them down, similar to how melanin absorbs UV light so it doesnt penetrate deep into skin and cause sunburn/skin cancer.

  • Flaprise 1337

    Flaprise 1337

    Před 4 hodinami

    bruhmide and bruhmate



    Před 4 hodinami


  • Lois Degeneffe

    Lois Degeneffe

    Před 4 hodinami

    Plastic in the hot sun leaching into the water supply. Yum.

  • Torohi


    Před 4 hodinami

    omg the bird that dies at 5:50 in the turbine

  • Kurt Smith

    Kurt Smith

    Před 4 hodinami

    Once again the private sector was ahead of Government but the big question is why treat the water and then store it in a open pond. Why not treat it and pump it to the consumer like the rest of the world.

  • Haloheld


    Před 4 hodinami

    why just not just chlorine? WTF its ur drinking water. Your body is not a swimming pool. Your important bacteria will die in your body which normally helps you

  • Mukashfi Ali

    Mukashfi Ali

    Před 4 hodinami

    On 5:53 a bird got sucked into the jet engine

  • Mansi Rampeary

    Mansi Rampeary

    Před 4 hodinami

    i thought this was a mr beast video lmao

  • MrAlla0222


    Před 4 hodinami

    What a short time solution.. :/

  • Bluegrass Lady

    Bluegrass Lady

    Před 4 hodinami

    Total cost $31, 680,000

  • justin william salter

    justin william salter

    Před 4 hodinami

    food grade you mean that plastic that turns men into women yeah

  • isokessu


    Před 4 hodinami

    So this is why anericans dont like to drink that much tap water, maybe their ice cubes were tap water but I hear that they usually just bought bottled water that they drink

  • cq33xx


    Před 4 hodinami

    i just realized that the water im drinking may be dangerous... because i live in a banana republic

  • mandie sayavedra

    mandie sayavedra

    Před 4 hodinami

    Chlorine it's self is carcinogenic and bromate is another cancer producing agent when combine with other chemicals in soda

  • Spencer Evans

    Spencer Evans

    Před 5 hodinami

    I saw this after the video about how to make videos go viral😂

  • Koorosh Rostami

    Koorosh Rostami

    Před 5 hodinami

    When I read the title I thought this was about some African ghetto.

  • Jahney Chriast

    Jahney Chriast

    Před 5 hodinami

    They can throw some lotus or lily and it's cost effective and making some money to city also!!

  • shamanik1320


    Před 5 hodinami

    A question I'd have asked after what it's like driving a boat in them would then be "Why do you drive a boat in them?" Lol

  • Dark Cloud

    Dark Cloud

    Před 5 hodinami

    Won't the water stagnate? Like old water tastes.....diminished oxygen?

  • Zaviar B

    Zaviar B

    Před 5 hodinami

    Okay CHdownload. I’m watching it. Please recommend something else now.

  • Nancy Desch

    Nancy Desch

    Před 5 hodinami

    That looks like one big, giant mistake - they have no idea what the effects of those things will be or if when they start to fall to pieces how would they get them all out of the water? What a disaster.

  • Jordan Peters

    Jordan Peters

    Před 5 hodinami

    Give the Man himself a call at 816-244-3433, you can get a top spot too!!

  • Dennis Fink

    Dennis Fink

    Před 5 hodinami

    Nice. Microplastic in drinking water 😒

  • Airlea Mystery

    Airlea Mystery

    Před 5 hodinami

    I love how excited and enthusiastic the guy in the grey suit is

  • InVed


    Před 5 hodinami

    I dont know

  • Mr Man

    Mr Man

    Před 5 hodinami

    This video has balls. No seriously did he say reservoir water to houses directly? No filtration between reservoir and houses? I think he got that one backwards.

  • Hayro Estrada

    Hayro Estrada

    Před 5 hodinami

    Too many Bro's in the water.

  • kym freeman

    kym freeman

    Před 5 hodinami

    Giant caviare.

  • Patrik


    Před 5 hodinami

    Looks like they are putting a bunch of chemicals in the drinking water....

  • Gabriel Murphy

    Gabriel Murphy

    Před 5 hodinami

    his first question was "why are they black"😭😂

  • Ryan G

    Ryan G

    Před 5 hodinami

    man this looks UNREAL..

  • Abelardo Arcos

    Abelardo Arcos

    Před 5 hodinami

    This is from 2015. And L.A. Authority actually replaced them. The water used to produce the balls is way more to what was saved. It's astonishing the video is near 30 million views. And the date is fake.

  • ian flanagan

    ian flanagan

    Před 6 hodinami

    yeah its food grade plastic, don't mean eat it lol

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