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Great Silver Lake Drain of 2008, Day 1: Accessing The Valve

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Day 1 of the Great Silver Lake Drain, the city's courageous effort to rid the reservoir of its potentially cancer-causing water. What we learned: Basically, this is like emptying a giant tub.

In the middle of the reservoir, there's a drain pipe, and today, workers (pictured above) attempted to operate the valve that would open the drain. There was some fear the valve would be rusted and inoperable, but there's a back-up plan of using pumps if the valve is crapped out. All told, the reservoir will see 45 days straight of draining, with workers allowing the water to drop 12'' each day. Allowing any more water to drain would put stress on the surrounding banks. And where's the drained water headed? Via tunnels, the water will end up at a magical place called Ballona Creek.