In 2008, 400,000 plastic shade balls were dumped in the Ivanhoe Reservoir to help reduce harmful chemical reactions and block birds from landing in order to preserve the quality of the water. The balls, which also obstructed the view of the blue water from the surrounding Silver Lake neighborhood and made the lake look like a giant tar pit, were only supposed to remain for five years but they’ve been bobbing there ever since. Nine years later, per The Eastsider, the balls are going bye-bye.

The 4-inch plastic balls are part of a larger Headworks underground water storage project. The first phase of that project was completed in 2014 and the second phase began last year but is still in progress. However, because the water in Ivanhoe Reservoir is no longer used as drinking water, officials felt that it was unecessary to keep the balls in place any longer.

Since the balls were added, the reservoir water level has fallen roughly two feet as it was partially drained to help fill the adjacent Silver Lake Reservoir. Once the balls are gone, both the Hyperion and Silver Lake reservoirs will be refilled and water levels will return to their normal levels.

Goodbye, shade balls!