COLUMBIA, S.C. -- South Carolina Electric and Gas Co. says it will release more water from Lake Murray northwest of Columbia so that rain can give parts of the lake bottom a good cleaning.

The utility that runs the reservoir behind its hydroelectric dam says it will start allowing more water to flow downstream early next month.

SCE&G has used periodic drawdowns of lake levels in the past to expose shallow coves to the air and rain, which helps clean them and improves water quality. The last time was in 2006.

South Carolina’s environmental agency says the move may also benefit some types of fish when the lake fills up again in the spring.