Officials break ground on a $34 million reverse osmosis water treatment plant that is expected to more than double the city’s drinking water production Monday.

Up to 6.25 million gallons of brackish water would be converted to drinking water daily for Clearwater Public Utility users once the facility is complete in December 2014.

“For decades to come, this new water plant will serve the needs of the city‘s water customers by providing them with a high quality of drinking water,” Tracy Mercer, Public Utilities director, said in a release.

The project helps the city increase its water production and reduce reliance on other sources. The city buys about 70 percent of its water from the county, and spends about $6 million a year on it.

The plant will convert brackish water into drinking water through a rigorous filtering process called reverse osmosis that removes particles and minerals. Wellfields would pump the water in from nearly 200 feet beneath the state.

The treatment plant includes the brackish water reverse-osmosis water facility, the brackish wellfield and a disposal well. Two storage tanks will be built as part of the project as well. Construction is expected to start in June.

Once the new plant is running, it also is expected to produce enough water to meet city demands.

The utility currently produces an average of 5.9 million gallons a day of its own water and purchases approximately 5 million gallons daily from Pinellas County Utilities.

The city does not add flouride [sic, fluoride] to its water. And although Pinellas County recently removed the additive from its water, before that the city would have to treat the water to remove it.

If you go:

What: Reverse Osmosis Water Treatment Plant No. 2 groundbreaking

When: May 6 at 10 a.m.

Where: 21133 U.S. Highway 19 N

Call: 727-562-4827