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Los Angeles Water Reservoir Filled with Millions of Water-Saving Plastic Balls


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Los Angeles Water Reservoir Filled with Millions of Water-Saving Plastic Balls

Protecting Our Resources

With the drought crisis that California is currently facing, a novel approach to maintaining water quality and water conservation has recently been implemented by the city of Los Angeles—filling the city’s water reservoir with a bunch of plastic balls.

Not just any plastic balls, however. These black, plastic balls were designed to protect the water from algae formation and increased evaporation in a time when water use has been significantly restricted and natural water resources have become a precious commodity.

How Do They Work?

The material carbon black is added to the plastic balls to give them their dark color and the ability to absorb UV rays. The plastic balls then float at the surface of the reservoir, forming a barrier that prevents harmful chemical reactions between sunlight and chlorine. One such chemical reaction is the creation of bromate, a suspected human carcinogen that has been linked to several health issues, including cancer.

Not only do these plastic balls help to reduce bromate levels, but by minimizing the amount of sunlight that reaches the water’s surface, it keeps the water cooler and reduces evaporation. According to one Care2 report, the shade from the plastic balls “reduces evaporation by 85 – 90 percent, a savings of nearly 300 million gallons of water each year.”

In case you’re wondering about the possibility of these plastic balls releasing harmful chemicals into the water reserves, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power claims they are considered safe because the balls are made from high-density polyethylene, a type of plastic that is “approved to come into contact with drinking water.”

Do you have any thoughts about this water-conserving action? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Resources:

Discovery News: Millions of ‘Shade Balls’ to Prevent Evaporation in Calif. Reservoirs
CNBC: ‘Shade balls’ protect LA water supply during drought
Care2: How Millions of Tiny Plastic Balls Are Protecting Los Angeles Drinking Water
LA Times: Millions of shade balls helping protect California’s precious water

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linda bush
linda bush
5 years ago

What a great idea.. I’m so thankful to those who are searching for ways to conserve and conserve creation that God has given us!!!

Gwendolyn Misner
Gwendolyn Misner
5 years ago

What a great idea!

Mel Holland
Mel Holland
5 years ago

It’s a really interesting idea. Maybe it should be adopted here in the very dry parts of Australia. I’d like to know how long the plastic balls last and what happens to them when they are finished?

TK - Admin
Admin
TK - Admin
5 years ago
Reply to  Mel Holland

Mel, great questions. i’m going to look more into this and get back to you!

TK - Admin
Admin
TK - Admin
5 years ago
Reply to  Mel Holland

hi mel, we found this great article with an infographic that explains more
http://time.com/3998554/shade-balls-graphic/

Amy Hepfner
Amy Hepfner
5 years ago

I think it could be a great idea, but I’m skeptical about anything plastic as being safe around anything that is ingested. That’s just me….but I do think it’s great that they are trying practical ways to conserve water.

TK - Admin
Admin
TK - Admin
5 years ago
Reply to  Amy Hepfner

hi Amy, we found this great article with an infographic that explains more
http://time.com/3998554/shade-balls-graphic/

campsuz
campsuz
5 years ago

sounds like a great idea!

Hope Beach
Hope Beach
5 years ago

Yeah, I’m wondering the same. Isn’t plastic a no no anyways? How is this plastic any different, and how long do they last, how will they get disposed, and why don’t they use that type of plastic elsewhere in other products so it can be safe to use plastic? But it’s good that it is creating shade and keeping other chemical reactions out of the water.

Kathy Meister
Kathy Meister
5 years ago

I have read many articles saying that water in plastic bottles releases harmful chemicals.
So why wouldn’t the plastic bottles leach out their chemicals into the water?

Stephanie Cosgrove
Stephanie Cosgrove
5 years ago

Very interesting, thanks for sharing this innovation with us.

Leah Rissien
Leah Rissien
4 years ago

I wonder if this could help prevent algae growth in other bodies of water such as Lake Erie?

Gingi Freeman
Gingi Freeman
3 years ago

This slightly concerns me.. I don’t have much confidence in things the government deems “generally safe”….