Water flowing into Silver Lake Reservoir

LOS ANGELES Silver Lake Reservoir provides drinking water to hundreds of thousands of L.A. residents, and on Wednesday officials began refilling it.

Click on the Eyewitness News Story Window above to watch Gene Gleeson's report from Silver Lake.

There were a lot of smiles in Silver Lake Wednesday morning. For the last six months, residents have looked down on the lake from their hillside homes and seen nothing but concrete instead of water. But their view is about to change.

City officials Wednesday morning threw a symbolic switch that started the water flowing back into Silver Lake.

"We're thrilled. This is very exciting," said Silver Lake resident Lori Oddino. "I was very interested to see it empty to be honest, but it got old very quickly. So we're thrilled to see the water back."

The city drained 600 million gallons of water out of Silver Lake Reservoir last fall after tests revealed unhealthy levels of bromate.

Bromate is a cancer-causing chemical produced when well water combines with chlorine and sunlight. Officials say the problem has now been fixed.

"We're changing it by chlorinating it after it leaves this reservoir, so that it can't form any of the carcinogen, any of the toxins that were there before. That's a complete change in policy and it guarantees the safety of this water," said L.A. City Council President Eric Garcetti.

It will take about a month to fill Silver Lake Reservoir completely. The water's now coming from the Los Angeles Aqueduct not wells.

In the long term, the DWP will stop using Silver Lake as a water storage Reservoir. After that it will be filled simply for ascetics.

Some have called for converting the entire space into a park. Jogging and hiking trials are already under construction. Residents have formed committees to come up with a plan.

"And we've been having community meeting and so forth. And that's how it will be decided, on the basis of what the whole community is interested in," said Herb Gold, a member of the Committe to Save Silver Lake.

Those changes and plans probably won't take place for the next 10 years. For the present, residents in Silver Lake are just happy to have their lake back.


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