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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 recycled over 1 million gallons. 

The program began, and continues to be, a partnership with the S.C. Department of Environmental Control.  DIY sites at 40 of the state’s 46 counties are serviced by the GOFER program, along with more than 1,500 industrial or commercial customers, farmers, South Carolina school bus shops, S.C. Department of Transportation shops, three publicly accessible Santee Cooper-owned tanks, and various areas within Santee Cooper.

Until the retirement of Santee Cooper’s Jefferies Generating units 1 and 2, used oil was the primary fuel. Jefferies had over 1 million gallons of storage that provided ample capacity for used oil.  Currently, Winyah units 1 and 2 combust the used oil as a higher BTU fuel to replace coal.

The storage capacity at Winyah Station is only 100,000 gallons, which makes running the program a much bigger challenge. However, GOFER works hard to keep the tank full of used oil at Winyah in order to make electricity for the people of South Carolina.