Clearwater breaks ground on second reverse osmosis plant

05/06/13 Samuel Johnson
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This morning the City of Clearwater broke ground on its second reverse osmosis municipal water treatment plant to get drinking water from brackish water. Nearly 100 people gathered in a vacant lot to listen to government officials commemorate the new construction. When the second water treatment plant is finished Clearwater will be able to produce almost 100% of its drinking water.

The official name of the plant is the Reverse Osmosis #2 Brackish Water Treatment Plant; or RO2 in governmental shorthand. Reverse osmosis is a filtration process that removes dissolved particles from the water rendering it drinkable again. Robert Maue, senior engineer with the city and the RO2 project manager, said the diversity of experts involved with the planning and construction attests to the intricacy of the plant.

The establishment of the new RO2 water treatment plant allows Clearwater to nearly complete a closed circuit approach to its water consumption. Tracy Mercer, Clearwater Public Utilities Director, said when finished it would be hard to find a greener city when it comes to its water management.

Tourists envision salt water when they think of water in Florida. However, the importance of adequate fresh drinking water is sometimes overlooked. The Southwest Florida Water Management District, also known as SWFWMD, monitors and governs the environmental equilibrium of the region’s water. Todd Pressman, SWFWMD board member, said the new RO2 will help the Tampa Bay area maintain its aquifers.

The RO2 is only one piece of the puzzle in Clearwater’s long term commitment to resource management. George Cretekos, the Mayor of Clearwater, said water conservation is a concern for both the city government and its residents.

When the construction of RO2 is completed in December 2014 the plant will treat up to 6.25 million gallons of brackish water per day.

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