Laser shows and plastic ball pits; add some pizza by the slice and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s innovative new method for treating and storing water looks a bit like a trip to Chuck E. Cheese. About 100 or so residents and local government officials got a sneak peek into the water utility’s plan to address the EPA’s impending new regulations, including a $60 million dollar ultraviolet water treatment facility that will be fully operational by the end of next year.

The water provided to Los Angeles will contain fewer chemicals by 2014, the result of the City’s new sterilization process. Water will be “zapped” free of some viruses and bacteria by ultraviolet lasers prior to being decontaminated with a reduced dosage of chlorine and ammonia. Once this water has been treated, it will be stored in reservoirs and covered by hundreds of thousands black, plastic “shade balls.” Not only will this help the facility comply with EPA regulations but water stored in such a manner maintains its sterile state and does not have to be further treated after leaving the facility.

The “Walk the Reservoir” tour is a bit unprecedented since many similar facilities have ceased public tours since 9/11. Residents in attendance hold out hope that such a system will reduce the chlorine smell that currently pervades their tap water.

Read the full article at the Pasadena Star.