Sunday, May 17, 2009

Bird Balls?

Ever heard of Bird Balls? Me neither! But I saw them (pictured above/below) the other day and had to find out more.The other day I wandered my way up into the beautiful Elysian Park (just minutes from Downtown LA). While driving around this huge park that has gorgeous vistas I stumbled upon the Elysian Reservoir. It caught my eye because the water didn't look like water, but I couldn't figure out what was up. The reservoir is fenced in and was pretty far away and I felt like my eyes were just not focusing well, but that water didn’t look like water. I was about to walk away when a security guard came by the fence. I asked him what was up with the water. He told me that the reservoir was covered in small (baseball-size) plastic balls! Oh, I thought, that’s what that looks like. Next questions, why? Apparently to protect the water (which is drinking water for Angelinos) from sunlight because when sunlight mixes with the bromide and chlorine in the water, the carcinogen bromate can form. Yikes! Hummm….but what about the toxic effects of hot plastic sitting in water for hours on end? Do they leach out chemicals? The security guard didn’t think so (very reassuring) and now I am worried. That means more research to do.At any rate that’s a lot of plastic! I’m not really sure what the alternative is to using hundreds of thousands (millions?) of plastic balls to keep this water drinkable, but there are likely to be consequences to the local ecosystem and maybe those of us who are drinking the water too. Is there a better alternative....? Oh plastic, you are just everywhere I turn!


dlzc said...

Bromate is a carcinogen if you are a mutant rat. If you are a human, it is a "possible human carcinogen", having never been shown to cause cancer in humans (despite near-fatal doses).

This reservoir is one of the few open-air finished water reservoirs, and the city is doing this "ball thing" until they can figure out how to replace the "lake" with a covered tank (like the rest of the country was required to do).

plasticfreela said...

Thanx for the info!

JMcK said...

Yikes!! At least there is change in sight.