MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The pumps feeding water into Lake Busbee were shut off last December following the closure and demolition of the Grainger power plant.
Santee Cooper and the city of Conway have agreed to allow Lake Busbee to return to its natural wetland state.
The water that flows through the outfalls of Lake Busbee has drained and the lake is now naturally evaporating. Santee Cooper officials said the evaporation process has been slow due to the weather.
People that come to the lake often say they appreciate the wildlife it attracts. Steve Thomas has lived in the area for 64 years and was around when Lake Busbee was built. He is an avid bird watcher and walks the lake often.
Scott Lamprecht, the regional coordinator for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, said most of the wildlife there, such as birds, turtles and alligators, will find their own ways out and relocate.
However, the fish are the biggest concern.
The plan is to allow the fish to escape to the Waccamaw River. Santee Cooper plans to plant 300 to 400 seedlings per acre to help restore the area back to wetlands.
Lamprecht says it will take time, maybe 20 to 40 years for it return to a wetland.
Thomas thinks it's best that the polluted lake be drained.
"I hope it becomes something like Woods Base State Park, which was an old mill pond which has grown up and they let people walk around it," he said.
However, some people do not like the idea of walking around the area during the transformation.
"It would be kind of icky and stinky to be honest, not really fun to walk around," said Amy Edwards. "I don't know how the wildlife would handle it."
Santee Cooper will continue to monitor the lake's progress.