Friday, March 23, 2018

No, It's Not a Garbage Patch

An ex-Angeleno, I once lived in Silverlake, and I thought the story was interesting.

Ivanhoe Reservoir Covered With 400,000 Black Plastic Balls

In 2007, the Department of Water Protection in Los Angeles detected high levels of bromate, a carcinogen that forms when bromide and chlorine react with sunlight, in Los Angeles’s Ivanhoe Reservoir. Bromide is naturally present in groundwater and chlorine is used to kill bacteria, but sunlight is the final ingredient in the potentially harmful mix. The 102-year-old facility serves about 600,000 customers downtown and in South Los Angeles. When the Department of Water Protection realized the problem, they began construction of a new underground reservoir in Griffith Park, but while the new facility was being built they had to determine a way to keep the sunlight out of the water. 


The possibility of tarps and metal coverings were explored but they were either too expensive or will take too long to install. So one of the DWP's biologists, Brian White, suggested "bird balls," commonly used by airports to prevent birds from congregating in wet areas alongside runways. The balls are made of polyethylene and cost only 40 cents each. The coating contains carbon and black is the only color strong enough to deflect ultraviolet rays. 

400,000 balls were dropped into the reservoir on June 2008, where they will remain for the next four to five years until the new underground reservoir is completed.

[via LATimes]

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Ivanhoe Reservoir’s shade balls are going away very soon

Crews could take them out this week
A 2008 photo of the balls rolling into the reservoir.
Irfan Khan/Getty Images
The Ivanhoe Reservoir is having its balls removed, perhaps as soon as this week, the Eastsider LA reports. The floating “shade balls” were dumped into the reservoir in Silver Lake in 2008. They were added to keep sunlight from hitting the water and to help stop potentially harmful chemical reactions.
The balls were also nicknamed bird balls, since they have the added benefit of keeping birds and their poop out of the water. Because the Ivanhoe Reservoir’s water was being used as drinking water, that was an issue. 

The four-inch balls were introduced into the reservoir in a grand display almost nine years ago. At the time, it was expected they’d stay in place for about three to five years, when the water was expected to be moved to Griffith Park’s Headworks, an underground water storage facility that would replace the open-air Ivanhoe and Silver Lake storage. 

An LADWP spokeswoman told Eastsider that the reservoir has been drained, and there’s only about two feet of water left in it now. The water was used to refill the Silver Lake Reservoir. That reservoir should be refilled way ahead of schedule, thanks to a surplus of snowmelt in the Eastern Sierras. 

The drained reservoir. Photo by Gary Leonard.
Courtesy of Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell
Before the balls go, some Silver Lakers, including Los Angeles City Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, jumped into the reservoir like it was a Chuck E. Cheese ball pit and had a grand old time.
Photos by Gary Leonard.
Courtesy of Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell
The Ivanhoe isn’t the only shade ball repository in LA. In 2015, the city put about 96 million of the little plastic balls into Sylmar’s Los Angeles Reservoir.  

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Hundreds of Angelenos Celebrate Opening of Silver Lake South Dam Walkway  (LA Dept. of Water & Power)  February 10, 2018

Los Angeles-The Silver Lake Dam Walkway was officially opened to the public on Saturday, February 10, in a ceremony at the south end of the Silver Lake Reservoir Complex that featured Mayor Garcetti, Congressman Adam Schiff (28th District), Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell (CD 13), Board of Water and Power Commission President Mel Levine and LADWP’s Chief Operating Officer Marty Adams, and other staff and guests.

The event drew hundreds of enthusiasts from the community who gathered in cool temperatures to enjoy a walk across the new Walkway, and then onward for about 2.2 miles around the inside perimeter of the Reservoir Complex which, ordinarily, is not open to the public.

The new Walkway is a component of the Silver Lake Reservoir Complex Improvement Projects, a series of measures that are being implemented after feedback from local residents. Construction on the walkway itself began in Fall 2017 and was completed in late January. The Walkway stretches across the south dam between two existing gates and will be open to the public every day from dawn to dusk. Another Walkway across a dam at Ivanhoe Reservoir is scheduled to be completed in Fall 2018.

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