Here’s Why A Las Vegas Lake Is Covered In 96 Million Floating Black balls


One Giant Ball Pit

The lake was covered end to end by hundreds of millions of black balls. It was the largest ball pit in the world, but no one understood what was going on in Las Vegas.

But a man who ran a Youtube Channel called “Veritasium” named Derek Muller was going to get to the bottom of this mystery. He would do whatever it takes to find out. He wanted to figure out what the black balls meant.

Unique Lake

This lake is definitely a unique one. I mean, what other lake has millions of black balls in it. But these balls are not meant for playing in. Take our word for it.

David needed to figure this out, he was going to be the greatest detective on the case. He decided that he’d go straight to the source.

Millions Of Them

Las Vegas officials have stated that there are around 96 million balls in the lake. That wasn’t good enough though, Derek needed more leads.

96 Million was a big number though, Derek decided that there was only one place to go. With all his clues, he decided he needed to give these balls a closer look.

96 Million In The Lake

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti was there when it happened. When 96 million balls were put into the lake. But why did this happen? And who was responsible?

Derek was a man of science, he was passionate and figured out why they were put in the lake. He was instantly drawn to the mystery as he loved to challenge himself.

Derek Muller

Derek discussed chatted to the locals who lived by the lake. Unfortunately, no one knew who the culprit was or how the balls even got into the lake.

What Derek was most suspicious about was the fact that no one seemed to be very curious about the balls. With so many balls dumped in the lake, surely someone would be the slightest bit intrigued or concerned.

Biggest Ball Pit


In his video, Muller stated, “It looks absurd. It’s like we’re in the world’s biggest ball pit,”

At this point, he was beyond intrigued about the situation. He asked the health department about it and funnily enough, they were happy to help him with his questions.

Reservation Lake

They explained to Muller that the lake was no ordinary one, but a reservation. This meant that the water in the lake needs to be clean to provide drinking water for the people that lived in the area.

So why would millions of balls help with that? And why would they just be dumped without anyone having a clue?

Strange Answer

So when Las Vegas officials finally told Derek the truth surrounding the millions of balls on the lake, he found it to be quite complicated.

When the answer is hard to explain, they decided to rather show him the site instead. Derek didn’t know what to expect.

Derek Was Lucky

Derek was lucky to get a chance for the officials to take him out on the lake. He got into a boat with them and they took him to the middle.

He was so happy to find out what was really going on, and for them to take him out to the lake. When they were on the lake it felt like they were gliding ontop of the balls rather than touching the water.

James Tilch

James Tilch was in charge of making sure nothing happened to the clean drinking water in the lake. Derek was introduced to him on the lake where he explained more.

When they got on the boat Derek had to put on a life jacket, the lake was very dangerous, and hard to navigate with the boat. He had a wide smile the whole time they were on the plastic balls.

Shadow Balls

The first question that Derek had for James was: “Why don’t the balls just fly off when the wind blows?”

The man said that these are special shadow balls and that they have been filled with a little bit of water so that they don’t fly away at the first breeze.

There’s More to These Shadow Balls Than Saving Water


The first time these spheres were used was in airports to stop birds from perching in the water.

It was then revealed that these bird balls, as they were initially called, were also great at keeping out sunlight, so that meant it helped save water. But they had one more essential role in this lake…

Marty Adams

While James Tilch was the one who took Derek out on the lake, Marty Adams — who is the Chief Operating Officer of the LADWP — is the one who was actually able to give Derek the scientific answers that he needed.

Then Derek asked Adams if there was more to these shadow balls than saving water.

The Chemistry in the Lake

The man said yes, and started explaining some of the chemistry of the lake… Who would have thought that millions of black balls can do so many great things?

“They knocked out the problem immediately,” Marty Adams said about the balls’ ability to help save water. But how long will they last before they start to deteriorate?

These Black Balls Can Work For Up To 10 Years

Marty explained that the balls will last for up to 10 years and then they will all have to be replaced!

While the balls are now considered to be used to save water, this wasn’t the reason why they were added in the first place. They also serve another important role in the lake…

It’s Not Just Saving Water After All!


The black balls also helped to keep the water cool and provided enough shade to minimize algae growth.

This way, the treatment facility uses less chlorine to treat the water for consumption. But the shade balls help with one more essential thing, the most important of them all…

The Bromate Problem

Marty Adams explained to Derek that they have a Bromate problem with the reservation lake.

While Bromate might be perfectly healthy in small quantities, it’s not that good for people when there’s too much of it as it leads to an increased risk of cancer. This is exactly what was going in the reservation lake from Las Vegas.

Creating Bromate

Marty Adams said that they need to release a special solution in the water that cleans and when that solution stays in the sun for too long, it creates large amounts of Bromate.

This is where the shadow balls come in.

Preventing Sunlight

As shown in the picture featured above, the sunlight warms up the water and it causes the cleaning solution to create Bromate.

Luckily, the shadow balls make sure that this doesn’t happen and that the water stays potable. Marty Adams also that the shadow balls are great for the lake because they prevent algae from growing – as it thrives when it has a lot of sunlight, leaving tap water with a green tint. The next question that Derek had for Marty is: how did this all happen?

How Did This Happen?

Did he and his team invent the shadow balls? Or did they buy them from someone?

Marty Adams then talked about the bird balls we previously mentioned. Adams also said that he tried different solutions before deciding to invest in the shadow balls. Were there other better solutions?

Nothing Works Better

The scientists who were in charge of this Bromate problem tried one other method. They also used a tarp but it didn’t work better than the shadow balls.

It’s great to see how quickly the folks who are in charge of the water in Las Vegas adapted to the Bromium problem and found an innovative solution.

Perfect Photos

While we must admit that these balls are quite handy for the LA reservoir, they look spectacular in photos, and just watching them roll over into the water is more than satisfying!

If we didn’t know the reason why these balls were used, we’d all think that this idea is crazy. But if it works and improves our lives, saving water and helping to keep it clean and safe to drink, it’s not that crazy anymore.

Safe Water

In conclusion, we can say that the 96 million shadow balls are not there to create the world’s largest ball pit, but rather to provide the people of Las Vegas with safe and healthy water.

We have to give props to Marty Adams and his team for coming up with this rather unique solution to the Bromate problem.