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Posted by Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral
Samina Cabral is a native Southern Californian who now resides on the shores of
User is currently offline
on Saturday, 16 March 2013
in Earth Blog

Are Shade Balls Still in the Silver Lake Reservoir?

About five years ago the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) dumped 400,000 blackShade-Balls-2-LADWP-Silver-Lake “shade balls” into the Ivanhoe Reservoir. The reservoir is one of the two concrete basins that are collectively known as the Silver Lake Reservoir in the Los Angeles neighborhood that bears the same name-Silver Lake.

The shade balls are similar to the type you would find in the ball pit of a Chuck E. Cheese’s (hollow and plastic) except obviously far less colorful and their purpose is for science not merriment.

They were placed in the water to act as a relatively inexpensive and safe floating barrier to prevent a chemical reaction between bromate and chlorine caused when California’s perpetual sunlight hits the water. This particular pairing could cause cancer if the bromate was allowed to reach high levels.

While there was only a slim chance Los Angeles residents could get cancer from the water officials decided to go with the balls while the Headworks Reservoir- an underground reservoir that will replace the existing basins for potable water- is being built.

In 2008 press release about the ball drop Councilmember Tom LaBonge, who has served as the representative for Council District Four since 2001, said:

“The most important thing is to provide safe, high-quality drinking water to all Angelenos.  As a Silver Lake resident, I know some people might not like their views interrupted by the Shade Balls, but we're confident that this is our best, most effective solution to the problem.  We will return your unobstructed view of the beautiful water of Ivanhoe Reservoir as soon as possible."

At the end of last month the Los Feliz Ledger reported that a portion of Zoo Drive would be closed to through traffic until June of this year due to construction associated with the Headworks Reservoir north of Griffith Park.

Construction has been ongoing on Headworks since last spring when they broke ground and phase one began but I couldn’t find any recent news about the balls themselves.

Even though one post about the balls on environmentalgraffiti.com was drawing comments about this project as recently as yesterday. Were the delightful images of people dumping bags of balls into the water making the rounds on Facebook?

Are the shade balls still floating in the reservoir because the projected time frame for them was three to five years? If the LADWP has removed them how did they do it? Did they drain the reservoir and then pick them all out?

Have they or did they have any problems at the site like did it attract people who wanted to play in the reservoir with the LADWP’s balls?

Can someone please go over to Silver Lake maybe use the new Tesla Walking Path completed in October and tell me if the LADWP’s balls are still there?

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Samina Cabral is a native Southern Californian who now resides on the shores of Lake Erie in Northeast Ohio. Samina and her husband believe that sustainability starts in the home and try to live their lives as simply as possible without compromising comfort.

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1945: Delivered to US Army.

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1950: Acquired by the US Navy on July 1, 1950 and placed in service as USNS New Bedford (T-AKL-17).

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1954: The movie, Mister Roberts, was made on the USNS New Bedford (T-AKL-17).

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1963: Reclassified as Miscellaneous Unclassified (IX-308).

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1994: Ceremony in New Bedford.

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