Optimists Gain Insight into Lake Murray’s Past and Future

On April 20, members of the St. Andrews Optimists were treated to an enlightening presentation by Billy Chastain, representing Dominion Energy. As the Manager of Lake Management/Parks and Recreation, Chastain shared valuable insights into the history and ongoing upgrade project of Lake Murray.

Chastain delved into the rich history of the iconic Lake Murray towers, which have stood as the inlets controlling lake water into the Saluda River for over a century. Originally built as part of the construction of Lake Murray’s earthen dam, these towers have played a crucial role in the region’s infrastructure. Chastain showcased vintage slides depicting the towers’ original construction, highlighting their significance in shaping the area’s landscape.

With the current upgrade project underway, Chastain outlined the importance of maintaining the towers’ functionality while ensuring minimal disruption to lake levels. Unlike the dry conditions of the original construction, today’s rebuilding efforts involve underwater work by divers, preserving the lake’s stability.

Chastain also provided insights into Lake Murray’s power generation evolution, from its origins in strictly hydro-powered generators to the integration of coal and, more recently, natural gas. As the landscape of energy production shifts, so too does the management of lake levels to accommodate various demands and weather patterns.

With 650 miles of shoreline and over 14,000 docks under his management, Chastain emphasized the delicate balance between preserving water levels and managing shoreline erosion. While everyone appreciates the beauty of Lake Murray’s waters, strategic tree management along the shoreline remains essential to prevent erosion and maintain the area’s natural beauty.

Throughout his presentation, Chastain and Dominion Energy demonstrated a deep understanding of Lake Murray’s significance to the Midlands community. Their commitment to balancing power generation needs with preserving recreational opportunities underscores their dedication to enhancing the region’s quality of life.

Pictured are Optimist Club President Kerry Powers and Billy Chastain, who received a copy of the Optimist Creed.