LEXINGTON, S.C. — Lake Murray is 41 miles long and stores approximately 763 billion gallons of water. However, the lake will not stay that way much longer this year.
The elevation of the water level is normally 358 feet and will be dropped down to 350 feet.
“We are hoping to drop the level down much lower than what it is now, and it will definitely be a noticeable difference,” Dominion Energy representative, Matt Long said.
Long explained that the water levels in the lake are normally brought down in the winter months. Dominion will lower the water starting in October to dehydrate the plants and kill them.
“It’s routine maintenance that happens every few years. The last time this happened was in 2018,” Long stated.
Dominion says the plants in the lake can effect boats on the water if they get too tall. Weeds and vegetation can get caught in boat motors and effect fishing trips for people like Brad Rutherford.
“I like to fish and I know the fish but more when the levels go down. I don’t really want them to cut the grass down though. The fish use the grass under to help them grow really big. I think they [Dominion] should just leave that alone,” Rutherford explained.
By killing the plants off, Dominion Energy hopes to improve water quality as well.
Columbia Water explained that customers who receive water from the Lake Murray Water Treatment Plant may sometimes have an earthy taste to their water.
The musty taste is caused by algae, fungi, and bacteria growing in the lake. The plants in the water can be a breeding ground for the algae blooms.
Dominion explained that they believe water quality can be impacted by sediments in the water as well. The drawdown will also push sediments, which help these weeds grow into deeper levels of the lake.
Mike Ludlow, walks on the dam frequently and loves looking at the water. He says he has no problem with Dominion doing maintenance work.
“If they are improving the quality of the water, then I’m all for it, why wouldn’t we want cleaner water out here,” he said.
The lake water is expected to raise back up to normal levels by spring of 2023 with rain and river flows feeding into the lake.