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

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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 "Colorful Animation 4" "Seaweed"
And from Kevin MacLeod "Marty Gots a Plan"
This is an educational video about the science of water quality.

Datum objavljivanja:


veritasiumblack ballsballsball pitshadereservoirblackplasticwaterLAlos angelesLA reservoirLADWPbromatebromidewater qualityalgaeevaporationwater supplychlorinesunlightsciencephysicscarcinogencarcinogenic



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Komentari 100
jesse y
jesse y Prije 7 minuta
They last for 10 years, so what happens in 10 years?
Ryan Dela Cruz
Ryan Dela Cruz Prije 8 minuta
Veritasium: It’s really rare to see 96 million of anything Pewdiepie: Observe
Mehethab Sulthaana
Mehethab Sulthaana Prije 13 minuta
Am I only one who's feeling an urge to jump into the pile of balls? 😍
Holden Caufield
Holden Caufield Prije 21 minute
isezdi Prije 30 minuta
i got black balls too but idk if youtube ll promote a video bout them
john doe
john doe Prije 31 minute
I have so many questions, first question, why are they black? Are you assuming it's race?
Really Random
Really Random Prije 42 minuta
Ok you tube u will watch it
Randy Watson
Randy Watson Prije 43 minuta
I bet the kids are freaking out by now.
Ethan hall
Ethan hall Prije 47 minuta
96 mil I know someone who has that *PewDiePie appears*
joshyy Prije 49 minuta
So this is what it looks like in Duke Nukem's pants...
Verkkokauppa Helsinki
Verkkokauppa Helsinki Prije 57 minuta
This is fake
ricky pagerdo
ricky pagerdo Prije sat
These balls are pewdiepies subs
R.A.H Brooo
R.A.H Brooo Prije sat
came bc youtube reccomendation. how about you?? :D
Axé High
Axé High Prije sat
It's a full pool of endocrine disruptors, WTF
Ichimatsu fan :P
“Why are they black?” Because they reflect less light from the sun,
Water Vlogs
Water Vlogs Prije sat
If only he asked to lay on it...
Axé High
Axé High Prije sat
They are killing the Californian people WTF!!!
ImZelo Prije sat
Five Gum commercial?
it's a bit frosty
I was well wanting you to ask that if you jump in would you be able to swim or at least get your head back up thru the balls?
luke shaw
luke shaw Prije sat
28mill views??! #why #how #who #ha?
TheDiamondMan 3
TheDiamondMan 3 Prije sat
5:50 RIP Seagull
inXsights Prije sat
this looks like a minecraft landscape
lemat456 Prije sat
Question: If I pour a glass of tap water coming from this reservoir and expose it to the sun - would it still become bro-contaminated?
guess who
guess who Prije sat
Mmm plastic tasting water from your tap.
knight rider
knight rider Prije sat
Its very rare to see 96 million of anything. 9yo army: pff
ray Locke
ray Locke Prije sat
Yea but when heated in a microwave it releases toxic that will give u cancer like plastic does when heating food in plastic dish
TGoxic Prije sat
5:49 you can see a bird flying into planes engine and getting shattered LOL
Survival Dude
Survival Dude Prije sat
That woman is really crool
wormwood69 Prije sat
Loitering birds??? Wtf !? Wildlife don't loiter , they hang about for food and water , and now they fkd their habitat up!!
wormwood69 Prije sat
Hope it's from recycled plastic??
vraj Patel
vraj Patel Prije 2 sati
@Veritasium what happens if the balls were white? Wouldn’t they reflect light?
Dan Nguyen
Dan Nguyen Prije 2 sati
My water source has no black balls no wonder the water takes poopu
Ten Gomez
Ten Gomez Prije 2 sati
5:53 I saw I bird got in Engine Hit like if you saw that!!!
FZiegenhahnJ Prije 2 sati
You don't drive a boat.
Etharyl Prije 2 sati
"it's rare to see 96 million of anything" Pewdieipe: HMMMMMM
RoScFan Prije 2 sati
This ia stupid. Just remove the ozone and treat the water when going out of the lake. Treat per usage. How many reservoirs are there globally? Tens maybe hundreds of thousands. How many use balls? Maybe 2. Also, any lake, even an artificial reservoir, should be useful to both people AND nature.
Smiley Face073
Smiley Face073 Prije 2 sati
That bird got sucked in to the engine lmao 5:49
Japreas TR
Japreas TR Prije 2 sati
Turkish translate so bad hahahahahaha
Lady Wisewolf
Lady Wisewolf Prije 2 sati
Well, that was very interesting. But I was waiting for someone to explain what the word Veritasium means.
Az Al-juhani
Az Al-juhani Prije 2 sati
There is a better solution than these black balls, is to put a large umbrella and have the property of rotation from the top to prevent birds from landing on them, and also the umbrella is better than the balls because when removing the balls will take more time
sdbling Prije 2 sati
Insert joke here 00:02
Toby McKay
Toby McKay Prije 2 sati
Would this be a machine?
Emily Barela
Emily Barela Prije 2 sati
i wonder if we could use recycled plastics for these balls!
Spartacus Prije 3 sati
Why are the filtration plants using Ozone? isn't there a better method to disinfect the water? SInce Ozone is the cause of the Bromate issue
Derpy Bread
Derpy Bread Prije 3 sati
Why is there 96,000,000 black balls in reservoir? That is how many subscribers PewDiePie has
Miguel Tovar
Miguel Tovar Prije 3 sati
Geezzz youtube!! Been trying to skip this video cause I DONT CARE ABOUT THESE BALLS AT ALL!! But you keep annoying me, so there you go, Im watching this BS!
jManraM Prije 3 sati
5:51 RIP birdie that got sucked in to the turbine
10 subscribers with no videos challange
1 ball= 1 PewDiePie subscriber
Athena Millay
Athena Millay Prije 3 sati
It's still plastic balls which are made from petroleum and it gets into the lakes!
SSSTheKiller Prije 3 sati
Thank you youtube, very uncool 😔
S R.B Prije 4 sati
So where did all the birds go?
Matt Twinkletoes
Matt Twinkletoes Prije 4 sati
Fill a water reservoir with millions of plastic balls, what could possibly go wrong
MAXIM Maskim Lyakhovskiy
минисверхпространство Сверхпространство
Noyo Prije 4 sati
pewdiepie bringed me here
Key Limepie
Key Limepie Prije 4 sati
Just wait until some pilot in distress thinks its an asphalt covered area from above and comes down for emergency landing.
Gavin Claron
Gavin Claron Prije 4 sati
water Crash Plane?
Gil Poznanski
Gil Poznanski Prije 4 sati
Not an original idea. James Cameron used the same answer when shooting "The Abyss". When the tarp tore in a storm, the light turned the surface into a mirror. Their answer, to dump thousands of black beads into the water. Broke up the light and was safe for divers to enter and exit.
Norbert Aule
Norbert Aule Prije 4 sati
A really good idea!
Funky Junky
Funky Junky Prije 4 sati
"300 million dollars worth of shade balls please" lol
Nofrackingzone 2.0
Nofrackingzone 2.0 Prije 4 sati
Yeah good idea.
HettySloFF Prije 4 sati
Gei Xiong
Gei Xiong Prije 4 sati
Lie...I smell a rat . Nothing can be trusted from any Government branch .
David Polatis
David Polatis Prije 4 sati
Sorry to let you down, but, in fact, there are not 48 million black men in this reservoir :(
yet another day on the internet
What pewdiepie's subscribers would look like if they stood together.
therubicon Prije 5 sati
I was correct and never drinking water out of the tap in California.
Magixmax Prije 5 sati
Kingy B
Kingy B Prije 5 sati
Why, because California's nutty politicians love wasting tax payers money on unproven crap..
Storm Lord
Storm Lord Prije 5 sati
Luci Rose McPherson Downes
Can u swim there
Devraj Singh Sandhu
Devraj Singh Sandhu Prije 5 sati
Why Are'nt There 96,000,000 Views on This Video?
Peter Surryez
Peter Surryez Prije 2 sati
Not enough Hindu can read English. If they did there would be over a billion hits. Then again, with a 60% illiteracy rate in India Hindi also suffers.
PaulDrew12 FTW
PaulDrew12 FTW Prije 5 sati
"They're black for a reason"
Joe Maxpayne
Joe Maxpayne Prije 5 sati
Here is a million view question: What if Thanos snapped to kill all virus, or bacteria's or both, what effect dose it make on earth. also what if mosquitoes.
PotsAndPups Prije 5 sati
Joe Maxpayne bacteria are a huge part of how we digest as well as our food (anything fermented) it would be strange with no illnesses though until the dead bodies started piling up because they are not decomposing
Zion Phillips
Zion Phillips Prije 5 sati
This is main cause of climate change
Satyaki Sil
Satyaki Sil Prije 5 sati
Replace the black balls with white balls, and suddenly it becomes racist.
JMjle M
JMjle M Prije 5 sati
Jack Mosgofian
Jack Mosgofian Prije 5 sati
1:10 “Is it hard to drive in shade balls?” “It is very hard.” “Oh really, why is that?” Starts explaining why it is difficult Turns camera away and talks over explanation.
William Prije 5 sati
Nice video derk drum varastblum
MatrixWU Prije 6 sati
"why are they black"
Hit Reset Button
Hit Reset Button Prije 6 sati
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!!!!
tatt oo sticker
tatt oo sticker Prije 6 sati
"It's very rare to see 96 million of anything." Pewdiepie joined the chat"It's very rare to see 96 million of anything." Pewdiepie joined the chat
Frank Strzelecki
Frank Strzelecki Prije 6 sati
I thought at first they were using those balls to make giant patterns in attempt to contact aliens. This would be fitting in California
Mustafa Prije 6 sati
24 million dollars
Bill Woo
Bill Woo Prije 6 sati
How possibly can they retire them? It's easy to dump them in. How can they SELECTIVELY remove the "expired" ones? Watch: it will cost billions. Tens of billions. Your big government in action. Your CALIFORNIA in action.
angryadrien Prije 6 sati
That was a great interview
usagamer2809 Prije 6 sati
Dude I was wearing headphones and that “wow” in my right ear SCARED THE CRAP OUT OF ME BRO (it’s 1 am so I have my reasons
Paul Dub
Paul Dub Prije 6 sati
What happens if a animal falls into the water?
tim sims
tim sims Prije 6 sati
Wow. Terrible idea. I hope nobody falls in
Fufner Keywheel
Fufner Keywheel Prije 6 sati
To answer your original question. Because black men are less prude than white men.
prabhu chakli
prabhu chakli Prije 6 sati
if they're totally harmless and you can chew them and eat me.
lizzy g
lizzy g Prije 6 sati
Boring I don’t care
Bill Woo
Bill Woo Prije 6 sati
Should that gasoline boat really be driven on a drinking water reservoir? Have you ever looked at a water next to a "parked" idling boat? It's reeking with gasoline.
Bill Woo
Bill Woo Prije 6 sati
I thought California didn't have water, except what it stole from Arizona? After all, it's just an irrigated desert. It really is. The rain is to the north, but it's a desert exactly like adjacent states Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico. And with its ubergrowth, they just have to steal more. Right?
Itz Chr0nos!
Itz Chr0nos! Prije 6 sati
wHy R tHeY bLaCk,you can’t say that without it sounding racist
John H
John H Prije 6 sati
Los Angeles and California are both dying....
SupremeCrack88 Prije 6 sati
Rip bird
NinjaArmy36 Prije 6 sati
Why not put a treatment in after the retention pond???? I mean???
This is still dumb. How many years was this ok before? How long will it be before the balls do something that’s harmful? And around and around we go.
magentalady Prije 7 sati
I wonder if there was a way that we could recycle plastic grocery bags and make them into these.
Oh Ok
Oh Ok Prije 7 sati
These things are actually really an amazing development and I'm even more glad they knock out multiple issues in one, and have application elsewhere (like airports)
Mr_Secret Orangez
Mr_Secret Orangez Prije 7 sati
"It's very rare to see 96 million of anything." Pewdiepie joined the chat
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