Plastic Balls for the Resevoir

Posted on June 10, 2008  Comments (1)

photo of Los Angeles resevoir

This photo looks like a April fools joke but I think it is real. Los Angeles Drops 400,000 Balls in Reservoir to Fight Suspected Carcinogen

So why deploy these balls — which are typically used by airports to prevent bird congregation on runways — in particular? Some of the other alternatives, such as a large tarp or metal cover, were considered too costly or impractical. The balls, on the other hand, are (relatively) cheap — costing 40 cents each — and are safe for drinking water; black is also the only color able to deflect UV rays.

The DWP has ordered 6.5 million of these balls, 3 million of which it plans on using to blanket the Ivanhoe and Elysian reservoirs. So, yeah, this probably isn’t the best solution for the city’s water woes but, given the circumstances, maybe the only “realistic” option in the short-term.

Los Angeles Department of Water and Power drops 400,000 balls onto Ivanhoe Reservoir:

The water needs to be shaded because when sunlight mixes with the bromide and chlorine in Ivanhoe’s water, the carcinogen bromate forms, said Pankaj Parekh, DWP’s director for water quality compliance. Bromide is naturally present in groundwater and chlorine is used to kill bacteria, he said, but sunlight is the final ingredient in the potentially harmful mix.

Photo by (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Call me a bit skeptical. Adding a huge number of plastic balls to a water supply in order to try and prevent a chemical reaction caused by added chemicals and sunlight seems a bit crazy to me. But who know maybe it is a good idea.

Related: Cheap Drinking Water From SeawaterEngineering A Cleaner RiverBoiling Water And Plastic Spikes Bisphenol A LevelsBottled Water Waste

One Response to “Plastic Balls for the Resevoir”

  1. Joseph
    August 4th, 2008 @ 11:05 pm

    I find this a bit weird. I’m just wondering if it is more harmful adding plastic balls to a reservoir because of the fact that it is plastic. But yeah who knows this might be a good idea. thanks for sharing

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