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The Benefits of Reusing and Recycling Used Motor Oil


May 30, 2018   By Susan Jackson in Environmental Stewardship
If you are one of the 4 million people each year in the United States who change their own motor oil, make sure you take it to a used oil recycling facility so it doesn’t become a major source of contamination of waterways. The benefits are clear:

Recycling used oil keeps it from polluting soil and water. Motor oil does not wear out, it just gets dirty. So, recycling it saves a valuable resource. One gallon of used motor oil provides the same 2.5 quarts of lubricating oil as 42 gallons of crude oil. Producing electricity with used oil rather than coal results in environmental and cost benefits. Santee Cooper, through its Give Oil for Energy Recovery or GOFER program, continues to support recycling of used oil.

In fact, Santee Cooper is the state’s largest collector of used motor oil. Last year, the GOFER program collected more than 1.25 million gallons of oil and safely converted it into electric power. The infographic below shows the... Continue Reading >>

Defining “wetland” proves elusive


April 04, 2018   By Jay Hudson in Environmental Stewardship

What is or is not a wetland continues to be debated and litigated.

Defining “wetland” proves elusive

In 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a rule to redefine “waters of the United States” that could include dry stream beds and perhaps ditches that contain water and flow into other water bodies. I wrote a blog on this a few years back.

What was at question in 2015 was what was a considered a “water of the U.S.” and what was not. At the turn of the 20 th century, a water of the U.S. was clear: It was generally considered lakes, rivers and territorial seas---water bodies that contain water most if not all of the time. The definition began to get murky when the government began to regulate swampy areas otherwise known as wetlands in the 1970s. Don’t get me wrong. Wetlands are an indispensable part of our ecosystem. Wetlands store runoff and provide important habitat for unique species. Swampy wetland areas deserve protection as... Continue Reading >>

GOFER in 2017: 1 million gallons of used oil and counting


December 13, 2017   By Susan Jackson in Environmental Stewardship

Step right up with used motor oil for proper disposal. Beginning in 1991, this was Santee Cooper’s first used oil collection facility, located in Moncks Corner on Rembert Dennis Boulevard just north of the entrance to the utility’s corporate headquarters at 1 Riverwood Drive.

The Santee Cooper Give Oil for Energy Recovery (GOFER) program accepts used motor oil from do-it-yourself (DIY) oil changers.

Besides DIYers, the GOFER program accepts oil from commercial and industrial customers. These collections are made statewide and not solely for Santee Cooper power or water customers.   The mission of the program is to provide cost-effective used oil recycling options. This significantly reduces the chance of polluting our soil, ditches and waterways with used oil.

The GOFER program was initiated in 1990 as an Earth Day pollution-prevention program in Berkeley and Georgetown counties. The GOFER program began in earnest in 1991 with one truck---and it has grown to four vacuum trucks with four drivers.

In 2016, 1.3 million gallons of used oil were collected and either recycled or burned as fuel at Santee Cooper’s Winyah Generating Station near Georgetown. In 2017, the program has already collected and... Continue Reading >>

From Power Plant to Peanut Production


September 06, 2017   By Susan Jackson in Environmental Stewardship

Gypsum produced at a Santee Cooper generating station is applied to peanut plants at a farm in Orangeburg County.

Synthetic gypsum is formed when fossil-fueled power plants use their flue-gas desulfurization (FGD) systems to remove sulfur dioxide from the stack gases.

Using a process referred to as “scrubbing,” stack gases are fed through calcium carbonate (i.e. limestone) to eliminate impurities and environmental concerns. When the sulfur dioxide is removed, synthetic gypsum is formed.

The majority of the synthetic gypsum at Santee Cooper’s Cross Generating Station was dewatered and trucked to a wallboard facility where it is used to make drywall. However, some of the synthetic gypsum wasn’t able to be dewatered so it had been sent to a lined wastewater pond.

In 2016, Santee Cooper began excavating this quality gypsum from the pond and stacking it in large stockpiles. After allowing it to dry naturally and extensive testing, it was decided that this gypsum could be used for agriculture. After receiving approval from the S.C.... Continue Reading >>

Lowering carbon emissions: a proposal


July 19, 2017   By Jay Hudson in Environmental Stewardship

Santee Cooper’s Cross Generating in Berkeley County is the state-owned utility’s largest power plant and an important source of electricity for its customers and those served by electric cooperatives.

The administration’s regulatory reform agenda  includes a rework of the Clean Power Plan, the Obama administration’s proposal to lower carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions at existing coal-fired power plants. The rule is currently being revised and will be published in the Federal Register in the coming months. 

One item that will likely be included is lowering CO2 emissions at existing plants by making them more efficient. The process is simple. The creation of CO2 is the result of burning fuel. Carbon-based coal burned in the presence of excess oxygen creates carbon dioxide. If the same amount of power can be produced while burning less fuel, less CO2 will be produced. 

The issue in the past has been when efficiency projects are proposed, they usually trigger what the Clean Air Act terms “New Source Review” or NSR. This is a lengthy state and federal permitting process where, in order to make a coal-fired unit more... Continue Reading >>