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Science

Protecting Water Quality with a Physical Intervention

Watched Why Are 96,000,000 Black Balls on This Reservoir? by Veritasium from youtu.be

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.

Not what I expected! Long story short, to prevent formation of a carcinogenic chemical.

Visually it looks super cool, like a gigantic ball pit. The balls naturally raft into grids that look like different textures from above.

By Tracy Durnell

Writer and designer in the Seattle area. Freelance sustainability consultant. Reach me at tracy.durnell@gmail.com. She/her.

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