Silver Lake’s future: Emptied, then covered with balls

Here’s an ugly sight: Silver Lake’s underthings.
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(For scale, the arrow’s pointing to a Toyota on the far bank. More photos after the jump.)

As promised, LADWP is draining the reservoir of millions of gallons of bromate tainted water in preparation for cleaning, refilling and putting it back on line by June. I biked around it early this morning – looks like the water level’s down more than 25 feet.

It could get a lot uglier if LADWP goes through with a plan to – are you ready for this? – float 3 million black balls on its surface after they refill it …

You see, the department wants to avoid a repeat of the sun-water reaction that raised the reservoir’s bromate content to toxic levels.

So the big idea, according to the latest Los Feliz Ledger is to block the sunlight from the lake – for at least 5 years with a carpet of balls.

“We don’t even want a scintilla of doubt,” in the publics’ eye that their water is not safe, said DWP General Manager David Nahai.

The cost of covering Ivanhoe with the balls–known as “bird balls” as they are used by some municipalities to keep birds from habituating in waters near airports–is estimated at $1 million.

City officials said they expect to have the balls in place as soon as they can be manufactured. The balls, they said, may only be necessary during the hot spring and summer months, although that will depend on future bromate level testing.

The black balls, officials said, are temporary as Ivanhoe Reservoir is expected to go out of service in five years when a new underground reservoir is completed near Griffith Park’s Travel Town.
DWP officials said they are open to other ideas for the protective covering, but that any material to accomplish the shading would need to be approved by the National Science Foundation.

Meanwhile, the draining continues.

Click to enlarge. You can see the high-water mark on the foundation of this control room, which used to be under water.

The fine print on the sign only hints at what’s really going on.

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8 Replies to “Silver Lake’s future: Emptied, then covered with balls”

  1. The unanswered question. The post notes from the DWP: “…temporary as Ivanhoe Reservoir is expected to go out of service in five years when a new underground reservoir is completed near Griffith Park’s Travel Town”. At the end of 5 years when it isn’t needed what will happen next? Just left to be a lake or back filled and a mall built?

  2. Nahai is awesome if only because he is the sole public official in Los Angeles who would use the word “scintilla.”

  3. If I understand correctly, only the Ivanhoe portion (smaller north reservoir) would be filled with balls. The larger portion, Silverlake would still be open.

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