The Silver Lake Reservoir is looking a little green, but LADWP says it’s fine


The water in the Silver Lake Reservoir is looking a little green these days.

And, like Kermit the Frog says, it’s not easy being green. The water’s new hue has some residents talking, of late. Some have speculated on social media that the change was caused by chemicals. Or urine. Or that it’s just different lighting when photos are posted.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power says it’s fine.


“Natural lakes and raw water reservoirs can typically change color, such as green to green blue in the spring and summer months,” the department said in a statement. “This can affect water color but has no effect on the water quality.”

LADWP says it is monitoring the reservoir and that data collected from water-quality testing did not indicate “unfavorable water quality such as an algae bloom.” The current levels of algae, the department said, “are not uncommon and would not be expected to have any adverse effects on wildlife or the ecosystem” and that algae growth naturally increases and decreases in cycles.

The reservoir — the scenic centerpiece of the hilly neighborhood named after it — no longer holds potable water. After more than a century of service, it was disconnected in December 2013 from the city’s drinking-water system as part of a federal mandate to phase out open-air drinking-water reservoirs. The lost drinking-water storage has been replaced by an underground reservoir near Griffith Park.

Aerial view of Silver Lake Reservoir with the smaller Ivanhoe Reservoir in the foreground and downtown Los Angeles in the distance on May 29, 2012.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times )

Silver Lake Reservoir was drained in 2015 so LADWP could build a new water pipeline beneath it. The reservoir became an unsightly concrete basin, with construction trucks, equipment and sprawling weeds.

It was refilled last year, slightly ahead of schedule, city officials said, because of an influx of water flowing through the city’s aqueduct system following the wettest winter in nearly a century.

Amid the spring greening, LADWP says it will continue to monitor the quality of the water and will treat it for algae control if needed.

“As long as everyone’s being really transparent about it, unlike the water, we should be fine,” one man told Fox 11.

“I mean, I could smell it more than I used to be able to smell it, so I know that, you know, the water is settling,” he said. “There was grass growing underneath. We watched it grow, and what happens to plant life when it’s sitting kind of still in the water?”

The long-term plan for the reservoir, according to LADWP, includes the installation of aeration and recirculation systems that will help slow the growth of algae in the water. The systems currently are under design, and construction is expected by fall of 2020.

Twitter: @haileybranson