CONWAY, SC (WMBF) – Lake Busbee has added fishing to the list of restrictions and prohibited activities at the landmark.
A viewer reached out to WMBF News after first noticing the sign. Officials with Santee Cooper, the company that owns the property, said that after the retirement of the Grainger generating station, they worked out a closure plan for the cooling pond with the state Department of Health and Environmental Control.
The plan was approved in April and Santee Cooper said the fishing restriction was then added, along with the prohibition of swimming and boating.
DHEC officials said, based on some pollutant data in the sediment of the lake and without further risk assessment studies, Santee Cooper agreed to restrict public access to the site.
The closure plan allows Santee Cooper to stop pumping water into the lake, causing it to return to its natural wetlands state.
DHEC said the restrictions are set with the possibility of keeping the water in the pond for future development, something the city of Conway is interested in doing.
Conway City Councilman William Goldfinch said as soon as Santee Cooper announced the plant was closing, they saw that as an opportunity to redevelop the lake, as well as the 12 acres of land next to the property.
However, Goldfinch said, before the city takes ownership, they want to know what they're dealing with.
The city is anticipating future discussion about redeveloping the lake, but first they want to find out from the community if it's worth spending money on a project like this.
For the lake to remain as is, water needs to continue to be pumped into it because it is actually above river level. Goldfinch said he would like to continue that process so it can stay in operation.
A workshop will be held at the next Conway City Council meeting to talk about the lake's contaminants and a potential plan to clean up the area.