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Happy Earth Day, GOFER!

April 20, 2016   By Jessica Yourko in Environmental Stewardship

This Friday, for the 46th time, we will once again celebrate a movement that was conceived to generate passion and motivate people to action.  On April 22, we will celebrate Earth Day.

Earth Day began in 1970 as a way to bring an increased awareness to the importance of environmental protection.  Twenty million Americans took to the streets, coast to coast, to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment. Today, Earth Day is celebrated in more than 193 countries.

In 1990, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Earth Day, Santee Cooper began the Give Oil For Energy Recovery (GOFER) pilot program.  Within two days, nearly 700 hundred gallons of used motor oil were collected in Horry and Berkeley counties. Sadly, prior to this effort and through the decades, hundreds of thousands if not millions of gallons of used motor oil was soaked up into the soil, wetlands, and waterways in South Carolina because of the lack of easily accessible disposal sites.

Thanks to many do-it-yourselfers, just three months after this pilot program began, a formal program was launched with two collection sites – one near the Santee Cooper corporate headquarters in Moncks Corner and another at Winyah Generating Station in Georgetown.

In June 2001, Santee Cooper announced the program would go statewide and we worked with many county governments to place GOFER tanks throughout South Carolina. It’s illegal to dump used oil on the ground or in ditches or bodies of water, and the GOFER program has helped make proper disposal convenient.

Today, GOFER’s mission remains the same as it did 26 years ago – recover and utilize used oil as an energy source while protecting the environment.

Through the years, over 30 million gallons of used oil has been collected at the more than 450 GOFER sites located throughout the state.  Santee Cooper has a fleet of four vacuum trucks and three tanker trailers that collect the oil from these sites and at 1,500 other industrial and commercial operations.  Much of this recycled oil is used as supplemental fuel at Winyah Generating Station.

For more information on Santee Cooper’s GOFER program or for collection sites in your area, visit us here or call the GOFER Hotline at 1-800-753-2233. 

Happy Earth Day, GOFER!