Lake Busbee in Conway is a man-made lake built as a cooling pond for the Grainger Steam-Electric Generating Plant, which produced coal power from its opening in 1966 until it closed in 2012. Santee-Cooper, South Carolina’s state power and water utility, owns the plant and determined that upgrading its emission controls to the current Environmental Protection Agency’s Mercury and Air Toxins Standards would be too costly. It shut down Grainger in October of 2012.
Residents of Conway enjoy the 2.3-mile bike and walking trail along the 325-acre lake. With the closing of Grainger, plans for the lake are in discussion by city council. Some locals hope that it will become a recreational lake, but its future likely depends on the future of the plant and whether or not the city decides to maintain the lake. Santee-Cooper is currently pumping water into it until a permanent resolution is adopted. The lake also would have to conform to South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control standards to become a recreational body.
According to South Carolina Picture Project contributor and Myrtle Beach resident Gregg Turbeville, Dolphus M. Grainger, for whom the plant was named, was a native of Horry County and rural electric pioneer who once served as president of Central Electric Power Cooperative.
UPDATE: On the morning of February 7, 2016, the smokestacks seen above were demolished.
Reflections on Lake Busbee
Photographer Gregg Turbeville, who supplied SCIWAY with the above photographs and much of the information, shares the following:
“The sun sets over Lake Busbee as lattice steel towers carry the transmission lines from the nearby Grainger Generating Station.”