Silver Lake says goodbye to its shade balls

Councilman Mitch O’Farrell and Silver Lake residents amid the shade balls | Gary Leonard

SILVER LAKE —  It’s been nearly nine years since 400,000 plastic shade balls were dumped into the Ivanhoe Reservoir. There, the 4-inch balls have bobbed up and down on the surface, helping reduce potentially harmful chemical reactions but also marring the view of the bright-blue water.  Starting as soon as this week, however, those balls are going bye-bye.

On Monday, a group of Silver Lake residents  and Councilman Mitch O’Farrell waded into the reservoir to take pictures and toss around the balls. It was kind of like a going away party before the 4-inch wide globes are taken out to be recycled.

The plan back in 2008 was to have the shade balls removed within five years when the giant underground Headworks water storage tanks in Griffith Park were to be completed. “We will return your unobstructed view of the beautiful water of Ivanhoe Reservoir as soon as possible,” former Councilmember Tom LaBonge said at the time.

The first phase of the Headworks tanks were completed in 2014, and work began on the second phase last year. The shade balls, however, remained in Ivanhoe,  which from a distance has looked like it had been paved over with asphalt.

Goodbye, shade balls | Gary Leonard

Now, however, officials have finally decided that it’s time to get the shade balls out since Ivanhoe will no longer store drinking water.  The water level has fallen to only about  two feet as the reservoir has been drained and water  used to fill the empty Silver Lake Reservoir next door, said an LADWP spokeswoman.  She said crews may be able to start collecting and removing the balls as early as this week.

Once the shade balls are gone, the Hyperion and Silver Lake reservoirs will be refilled with water starting later this month.  Will anyone miss those shade balls?

Shade balls rolling into Ivanhoe Reservoir in 2008 | LADWP

The Eastsider’s Daily email digest includes all new content published on The Eastsider during the last 24 hours. Expect the digest to land in your in email in box around 7 p.m. It’s free to sign up!

Once you submit your information, please check your email box to confirm your subscription.

Support community news in 2021

Support community news in 2021

The Eastsider needs your support!

The Eastsider is committed to providing news and information free to all as a community service. But reporting and writing neighborhood news takes time -- and money. Join the other Eastsider readers whose one-time contributions and monthly sponsorships help pay our bills and allow us to provide you the news and info that keeps you connected to your community. -- Jesus Sanchez, Publisher

Load comments