Ivanhoe’s Black Balls

The Ivanhoe reservoir in In Los Angeles is actually a part of the Silver Lake reservoirs.  The Ivanhoe reservoir is separated from Silver Lake by a spillway. The lower lake was named after the 1906 Water Board Commissioner at the time, Herman Silver, and the upper bay was named after the Sir Walter Scott Novel, Ivan hoe.  Both of the reservoirs are owned and operated the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.  They were capable of providing water to 600,0o0 homes in downtown and South L.A.  Only Ivanhoe, though, still remains in use.  Much of the Silver lake reservoir has been or in the process of being transformed into a recreational area.  One of the ideas was to turn Ivanhoe into a public beach swimming venue called Silver Lake plunge . The locals called it Hipster beach.

Did I mention that Ivanhoe reservoir has gone underground? Yes. This is to keep it away from the sunlight. In 2007, both Silver lake and Ivanhoe became contaminated with high levels of Bromate. Bromate is a carcinogen that forms when Bromide and Chlorine react with sunlight. Bromide is a chemical naturally present in groundwater and, of course, the Chlorine was introduced to kill bacteria. Add sunlight, which LA has abundance of, and Walla, you got yourself some cancer magic in the water.

Something had to be done.  This is not exactly a thing that one wants to be known as…the water department killing of its customers. Since it was already a problem, stopping the chlorine would not fix it quickly and no one was totally sure how to stop the sunshine.  At least not at first. Then they came up with a great plan. 400,000 balls. Black balls to be precise. These balls are also known as bird balls because they are used by airports to keep the birds from congregating in the water areas near runways. The balls are made of polyethylene(plastic) and the coating contains carbon because black is the only color strong enough to deflect the Sun’s ultraviolet rays. The balls were dropped on June 8th and there they remained while the new underground reservoirs were completed.

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Sources: https://info.ngwa.org/GWOL/pdf/042979905.pdf

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silver_Lake_Reservoir

https://www.plasticsindustry.org/AboutPlastics/content.cfm?ItemNumber=1400&navItemNumber=1128

http://www.amusingplanet.com/2011/11/ivanhoe-reservoir-covered-with-400000.html

2 thoughts on “Ivanhoe’s Black Balls”

  1. Anonymous - August 23, 2016 2:42 pm

    This has to be working!!! Right??? lolol

    1. T Whitaker - August 24, 2016 2:52 pm

      It did work actually.

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