Plastic Balls: Innovative Solution to Protect America’s Water Supply

In Economics, Environment by Megan Toombs Kinard0 Comments

Innovative entrepreneurs are at it again creating cheaper solutions to very expensive problems.

In 2006, the EPA released its Long Term 2 Surface Water Treatment Rule (LT2 Rule). This rule, among other things, required that all Finished Water Reservoirs be completely covered, or be retreated before the water was released for human consumption.  This rule obviously introduced significant cost to local water systems with the price of covering the Los Angeles Reservoir estimated at $300 million.

Last Monday, the Lost Angeles Reservoir cover project was completed, but at a much lower cost, $34.5 million.


Shade Balls, which are technically called Conservation Balls by one of the companies that make them. XavierC is a company founded by entrepreneur Sydney Chase. Chase quit her high-paying manufacturing job, then sold her house to obtain the seed money to start the company. Xavier is the name of her partner, a quadriplegic, who came on board to help create a company that hired injured veterans unable to get jobs elsewhere.

Shade Balls are made out of Polyethylene, a plastic derived from natural gas and oil.  This material is key to the success of the balls as they absolutely cannot degrade in the water.

This innovation keeps water reservoirs safe from contamination by local wildlife, inhibits the growth of algae, prevents the sun from reacting with chlorine and other chemicals (which cause the creation of a carcinogens), as well as preventing loss of water through evaporation.

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Megan is the Director of Communications for the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, and Editor of You can follow her on Twitter @MeganToombs.

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