SILVER LAKE, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Two years after it was drained, water began flowing again into the Silver Lake Reservoir complex, far earlier than expected after this winter's big storms.
City officials on Tuesday opened the valve for the water to first fill the smaller Ivanhoe Reservoir. In about two weeks, once it is full, the larger Silver Lake Reservoir will begin filling up again.
The 96-acre complex used to hold enough drinking water to supply more than 500,000 homes, until a cancer-causing chemical was found in 2007. Authorities drained them and then refilled them, placing 400,000 floating plastic "shade balls" in the Ivanhoe Reservoir to block sunlight that produced the chemical from bromide and chlorine in the water.
The complex was then drained again in 2015 for construction to divert the water to a new covered reservoir that complies with updated state and federal storage regulations.
City officials had initially planned to start refilling the reservoir in May, expecting it to take a year. But record rainfalls this winter allowed them to fill it up early and quickly.
The reservoir, a popular spot for joggers and dog-walkers, is being kept as a scenic and recreational destination.
Some critics had wanted the area to be converted to open space for parks or a wetland. But other local groups lobbied against that, wanting to see it filled with water for the public to enjoy.
"This is a big win for all the nearby residents and for all Angelenos who will visit Silver Lake Reservoir," said City Councilman David Ryu.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Silver Lake Reservoir refilled with water for public recreation