Silver Lake is down the drain
After several weeks of draining, Silver Lake Reservoir is nearly empty now, save for some random puddles on the basin’s bottom.
The emptying of the reservoir began in January. Water officials said the action was necessary to eliminate water contaminated by bromate, a carcinogen formed by the interaction of bright sunlight, chlorine and natural bromides that exist in groundwater.
In coming weeks, when the lake is completely dry, workers will clean the surface of debris and other matter and refill the 600-million-gallon reservoir.
Engineers hope to complete the project by June 1, according to Joe Ramallo, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.
“We need to have the reservoir back in service by June to meet consumer demand in the summer months,” Ramallo said.
The reservoir holds drinking water for the central and southern part of the city.
The reservoir was last drained about 20 years ago, Ramallo said. Prior to that, it was drained in 1950 so that its sides could be re-sloped and paved to prevent vegetation from growing next to the water.
For a time in the early 1970s, officials considered abandoning and filling in the reservoir or replacing it with water tanks. But after much debate, Silver Lake survived.
When it was built 100 years ago, it was an unfenced, natural-sided body of water that resembled a crystal-clear mountain lake.
Contrary to popular assumption, it is not named after its shimmering waters.
The name honors Herman Silver, an advocate of a publicly owned municipal water system who became one of the city’s first water commissioners in 1902.
The stories shaping California
Get up to speed with our Essential California newsletter, sent six days a week.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.