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Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

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Disclaimer: The information contained in this report is based on the data contained in DEP information systems at the time of publication.

Small Business in Pennsylvania

A Critical Segment of the Commonwealth’s Economy

Small businesses are an important component of Pennsylvania’s economy.
How Important?
There are over 1 million small businesses in Pennsylvania.
Small businesses make up 99.6% percent of employers in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania’s small businesses employ over 2.5 million people.
Nearly 47 percent of the private-sector labor force in Pennsylvania are employees of small businesses.
U.S. Small Business Administration, Office of Advocacy - Pennsylvania Small Business Profile, 2017. The SBA defines small businesses as having 500 or fewer employees.

Helping Small Businesses Comply with Environmental Regulations
The DEP Small Business Environmental Assistance Program*
*Creation of the Small Business Environmental Assistance Program was required by the Pennsylvania Air Pollution Control Act and Section 507 of the Clean Air Act.

To help small businesses comply with regulations, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) created the Small Business Environmental Assistance Program (SBEAP) in 1996. Since then, we’ve helped thousands of Pennsylvania’s small businesses understand and manage their obligations for complying and reporting. In addition, the SBEAP also assists small businesses by proposing alternative technologies, products or materials which may reduce or eliminate their environmental impact.

Gunning Lighting Upgrade Gunning Lighting Upgrade
Lighting upgrade at Gunning Mechanical Contrators

The Small Business Environmental Assistance Program offers many resources to help Pennsylvania’s small businesses:

  • Assistance in understanding and meeting technical requirements related to permit compliance
  • Stay informed on new regulations and policy matters and ensure their concerns are considered
  • Information on grants and loans for pollution prevention practices and energy efficiency

The Small Business Environmental Assistance Program includes three components:

  • Environmental Management Assistance Program (EMAP)
  • Small Business Ombudsman Office
  • Small Business Compliance Advisory Committee

 Environmental Management Assistance Program 

The Environmental Management Assistance Program (EMAP) provides free, confidential assistance to business owners to help them determine their environmental regulatory requirements and the best environmental management strategies to meet those obligations.

EMAP is housed in the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center at the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania. There are 18 Small Business Development Centers located in universities around the Commonwealth.

EMAP Helping EMAP helping business owner image

Services to Small Business Owners

EMAP employs five technical assistance staff who provide support to small businesses throughout the Commonwealth. Staff can assist small business owners with:

  • Emissions calculations
  • Plan approvals
  • Permit applications
  • Grant application
  • Regulatory paperwork
  • Operating permits

Easton Orthdontic Associates

EMAP can also refer small businesses to general business and financial assistance professionals and other wide-ranging support.
EMAP provides free instructional seminars and educational events for individuals looking to start a venture, as well as for established companies.

Contact EMAP
Call toll-free: 877-ASK-EMAP (877-275-3627)
Nancy Crickman, Director: (215) 746-6473

2016-17 EMAP Services by the Numbers
•  174 Businesses provided with in-depth assistance
•  75 Hotline contacts
•  40 Non-hotline contacts (emails or direct calls)
•  36 Site Visits

EMAP Helping EMAP helping business owner image

EMAP Helping EMAP helping business owner image

EMAP County Assistance 2017 EMAP County Assistance 2017 image

2016-17 Success Stories

DEP referred a small manufacturer to EMAP for assistance with a Request For Determination (RFD) for operation of diesel-fired engine units. EMAP performed an on-site assessment and assisted the manufacturer with both an RFD and General Permit-9 application. To comply with the permit conditions, the manufacturer had to install oxidation catalysts and source-test to verify compliance with emission limits. Throughout the entire process, EMAP walked the business along each step of the way and clarified each of the requirements of the permit. The business now has a valid air permit to operate.
A DEP air quality inspector visited a manufacturer and informed the business a permit was required for its operations. The inspector supplied EMAP materials during the inspection, which prompted a call for assistance. After a site visit to understand the operations, EMAP calculated air emissions from the processes and worked with the business to prepare the Plan Approval application, including a NOx Best Available Technology review to determine if available NOx control technologies were technically and economically feasible. Once a draft Plan Approval was issued, EMAP reviewed the permit requirements with the small business owner, highlighting the ongoing recordkeeping requirements and reporting deadlines. EMAP also developed inspection templates to assist the facility in maintaining compliance.
A pre-venture bakery/coffee house wanted to purchase a former gas station and convert it into a retail establishment. While working with their local SBDC business consultant, they learned there were five underground storage tanks on site. Their business consultant recommended they contact EMAP for assistance. After a meeting and site visit, the EMAP advisor outlined DEP underground storage tank closure requirements. A certified tank installer would be needed to carry out closure activities on the tanks. EMAP provided a list of certified companies to the client and recommended they obtain multiple quotes. EMAP also provided a list of potential funding opportunities to assist with closure activities in the event any leaks or releases were detected. A certified contractor was obtained and the tanks successfully removed. Some contamination was found, and the client was able to apply for clean-up funding assistance through DEP’s Underground Storage Tank Indemnification Fund.
Based in Lewisburg, Pik Rite designs and manufactures innovative, quality-built vegetable harvesters, agricultural manure spreaders, commercial waste handling and specialized vacuum tanks, dump bodies, and debris collectors. Pik Rite customizes equipment to meet the needs of many industries, including farming, commercial waste hauling, gas drilling, construction, and municipal waste. Pik-Rite ships their products throughout the U.S., as well as exporting to 26 countries.

Pik Rite Award Pit Rite Award image

Pik Rite President Elvin Stoltzfus (center, with trophy) and his hard-working team

For the past several years, Pik Rite teamed up with EMAP, the Small Business Development Center at Bucknell University, the Pennsylvania Technical Assistance Program (PennTAP) and the Ombudsman’s Office to obtain assistance with understanding and complying with regulatory requirements, have energy assessments performed on their equipment and building to identify energy savings opportunities, and Small Business Advantage Grants to reach their energy saving goals. This was truly a team effort!

As a result, Pik Rite earned the 2017 Small Business Environmental Stewardship Award from the National Small Business Environmental Assistance Program. The company was recognized for its accomplishments in the areas of environmental compliance, implementing energy efficiency and pollution prevention practices, bringing new innovative products to market, and developing lean manufacturing practices.

“Pik Rite truly embodies what it means to be a successful small business and role model to others. Pik Rite’s activities have inspired other Pennsylvania small businesses to successfully achieve company growth while showing a true commitment to the environment”
    --Nancy Crickman, Director of Environmental, Energy, and Technology Services, Pennsylvania SBDC

Watch video to learn more about Pik Rite.

Small Business Ombudsman Office

The Small Business Ombudsman Office represents DEP to the small business community, and serves as the primary advocate for small businesses within DEP.

How the Ombudsman Helps Small Business Owners

  • Provides free, confidential assistance to small businesses.
  • Administers grant and loan programs only available to small businesses.
  • Can help identify technical and financial opportunities for energy efficiency and pollution control programs available through various state and federal programs.
  • Reviews pending regulations to consider their impact on small businesses, and can assist small businesses with their interactions with DEP.

The Ombudsman provides assistance to Pennsylvania’s small businesses through:

  • Direct, confidential compliance assistance to small businesses
  • Legislators, associations, small business assistance providers, and federal and state agencies.

Contact the Small Business Ombudsman Office
Ed Boito, Small Business Ombudsman
    (717) 783-0909
Caroline Zepp, Program Analyst
    (717) 772-5160

Small Business Pollution Prevention Assistance Account Loan Program

The Small Business Pollution Prevention Assistance Account (PPAA) Loan Program provides low-interest, fixed-rate loans to small businesses undertaking projects that reduce waste, pollution, or energy use.

  • Eligibility:  Small businesses in Pennsylvania with 100 or fewer full-time equivalent
  • PPAA loans may fund:  Up to 75 percent of total eligible project costs
  • Maximum loan amount:  $100,000
  • Terms:  2 percent fixed interest rate for a maximum term of 10 years

Mariano Holistic Life Center, Inc.

PPAA is a revolving loan fund and receives no additional state funding. DEP and the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) jointly administer the loan program. DEP reviews the technical application, while DCED reviews the financial application, performs the credit check, and handles loan closing and maintenance.

2016-17 Use of the PPAA Loan Program
The PPAA Loan Program has been underutilized by small businesses. Now, the new Ombudsman is developing plans to stimulate the use of the PPAA program. As interest rates rise, it’s anticipated the program will become more financially attractive to potential borrowers.

The PPAA Loan Program has been underutilized by small businesses. Now, the new Ombudsman is developing plans to stimulate the use of the PPAA program. As interest rates rise, it’s anticipated the program will become more financially attractive to potential borrowers.

Small Business Advantage Grant Program
In 2016 the Small Business Advantage Grant (SBAG) program marked its 13th year of offering grants to Pennsylvania small businesses to implement energy efficiency or pollution prevention projects.

These projects help businesses reduce costs and may reduce their regulatory requirements, while decreasing the environmental impact of their business operations.

  • Eligibility:   Projects are required to achieve at least a 25 percent increase in energy efficiency or pollution prevention savings and save the business a minimum of $500. Eligible small businesses must be a for-profit business located in Pennsylvania with no more than 100 full-time equivalent employees.
  • Examples of participants:   manufacturers, retailers, service providers, medical professionals, the transportation industry, and agricultural interests
  • Grants:   50 percent reimbursement grants, up to a maximum of $9,500

McCormick Chiropractic

2016-17 Small Business Advantage Grant Program by the Numbers
  • Application round opened: July 25, 2016; closed: Nov. 4, 2016
  • Grants awarded: $924,211
  • Applications received: 232 applications
  • Approved for grants: 176 applicants
  • Program expenditures through June 30, 2017: $876,645, with 168 small businesses receiving their grant, leveraging $1,558,613 in private investment.*
*The difference between the awarded amount and the actual expenditure is due to some applicants not completing their project, awards being rescinded, or withdrawn by the applicant.

Total Expenditures Total Expenditure image

Project Types Project Types image

2016-17 Small Business Advantage Grant Recipients

SBAG Recepients Map
SBAG Recipients

2016-17 Small Business Advantage Grant Success Stories

An orthodontic practice in York County received a $9,500 grant to upgrade to a digital oral scanner. They are saving more than $7,400 per year on disposable dental supplies, eliminating nearly 400 pounds of materials from their annual waste stream, and saving $300 (19,380 gallons) on their water and sewage costs. The simple payback period for their private investment is less than three years.
In Lancaster County, a manufacturer applied for a grant to upgrade their old lighting to new, efficient LED fixtures. The $27,925 investment was matched with a $9,500 Advantage Grant, saving $22,232 and 171,000 kwh per year.
A dry-cleaning business in Delaware County invested in new biodegradable process that eliminates the annual creation and eventual disposal of 128 gallons of hazardous waste.
In Schuylkill County, a trucking company installed anti-Idling equipment in two trucks, saving 3,370 gallons of diesel per year and approximately $8,930 in annual fuel costs.
A manufacturer in Snyder County saw the need to replace their inefficient boiler used in curing their products. The new boiler will prevent the use of 3,941 gallons of fuel oil, saving nearly $4,400 and 90,000 lbs. of CO2.

2016-17 Small Business Advantage Grant
Pollution Savings

Energy/Pollutant Savings
Electricity 4,459,284 kWh
Natural Gas 5,437 Mcf
Diesel Fuel 8,016 gal
Hazardous Waste Sludge (Perchloroethylene) 530 gal
Heating Oil 6,110 gal
Film Developing Chemicals 329 gal
Wastewater 39,800 gal
X-Ray Film kept from landfill 50 boxes
Miscellaneous landfill waste 392 lb
CO2 205.2 tons
NOx 0.18 tons
Particulates 0.11 tons

Winnie the Pooh Daycare Winnie the Pooh Daycare Lighting Upgrade
Lighting upgrade at Winnie the Pooh Daycare of Mount Carmel

Small Business Compliance Advisory Committee

The Small Business Compliance Advisory Committee works to ensure that small business concerns and interests are represented within DEP when new regulations are developed, and considers the impact of proposed environmental regulations on small business.

The committee includes small business owners, small business advocacy organizations, and representatives of government agencies.

The Committee meets quarterly to address issues that could impact the small business community.

Market St Dental Market St Dental Upgrade Radiography equipment upgrade at Market Street Dental, PC

Committee Membership
Dale Kaplan, Chairman, President, Kaplan’s Careful Cleaners
Walter Schroth, President, Schroth Industries
Suzanne Stoltenberg, National Federation of Independent Business Pennsylvania
Nancy Crickman, Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers
Ed Boito, Small Business Ombudsman, DEP
Laura Edinger, Regulatory Coordinator, DEP--Designee for Secretary Patrick McDonnell
Michael McManus, Administrative Officer, Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development

   Other DEP-Sponsored Services for Small Businesses  

Emerging Technology Applications Center

The Emerging Technology Applications Center (ETAC) helps small businesses gain a competitive advantage by applying alternative technologies to improve heating, drying, coating and curing processes, as well as reducing their energy usage and carbon footprint. ETAC also assists businesses investigate new equipment, materials and processes before making large investments or production changes.

With DEP grant funding, ETAC provides energy and technological consulting services to small businesses with up to 500 employees in 22 counties in the eastern half of the state. ETAC's office is located in the Northampton County Community College in Bethlehem

ETAC Section ETAC image

Contact Emerging Technologies Applications Center
John Barkanic, Director
  (610) 861-5381

2016-17 ETAC Success Story
A Columbia County foundry worked with ETAC to perform a full facility energy audit with the support of grant funding from DEP and the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania, in addition to matching company dollars.

The analysis resulted in the implementation of variable frequency drives for three bag houses and compressed air controls. Energy savings totaled 1,474,536 kWh per year, with cost savings of $89,800 annually. Additional ETAC recommendations were implemented, resulting in additional savings and rebates. The company also qualified for PPL Electric Utilities Act 129 rebates totaling $122,225.

In addition to the energy savings, resulting annual air emissions savings are:
  • 1,401,900 lbs. of COx
  • 1,344 lbs. of SOx
  • 1,062 lbs. of NOx

Pennsylvania Technical Assistance Program

Pennsylvania Technical Assistance Program (PennTAP) has been assisting businesses in Pennsylvania for more than 50 years. The federal-state-university partnership provides no-cost technical assistance to small and mid-size businesses and manufacturers. PennTAP also offers educational workshops for business owners and employees. PennTAP’s Energy and Environment Services are designed to help Pennsylvania companies conserve energy and reduce wastes in their manufacturing facilities, lowering energy-related costs and increasing their profits and competitiveness. PennTAP’s main office is in State College, with additional staff in Pittsburgh.

Penn Tap Photo PennTap Image

Contact PennTAP
Tanna M. Pugh, Director
  (814) 863-1632

2016-17 PennTAP Success Stories
A logging and lumber company in Lawrence County contacted PennTAP to perform an energy analysis and compare multiple heating systems that would be most appropriate for the facility. The energy assessment also focused on upgrading to an LED system and installing additional lighting. Assistance was also provided with an application for the Rural Energy for America Program grant to upgrade their heating system to high-efficiency natural gas heaters.

PennTAP determined the company could save up to 1,255 MMBTU per year by upgrading lighting to LEDs, installing new LEDs, and installing a high-efficiency natural gas heating system. The company received a grant of more than $13,500 for its $55,000 project to upgrade the heating system to natural gas.
PennTAP assisted a building and construction company in Snyder County with lighting and boiler upgrades through the Small Business Advantage Grant. Combined, they were able to save $12,500 per year with funding of approximately $12,000 to modernize the most energy intensive parts of the facility. Through planning the energy efficiency improvements ahead of time, the site was able to maximize its return on investment and use of capital.

DEP Bureau of Air Quality: Compliance Assistance and Monitoring Section

The Compliance Assistance and Monitoring section oversees the planning, development, coordination, implementation and evaluation of the statewide air quality compliance assistance program. It develops compliance assistance outreach tools and materials, supports the technical assistance provider, and serves as DEP liaison to the SBCAC.

2016-17 Success Story
The 2017 Dry Cleaner Compliance Calendar was distributed in October 2016 to approximately 790 dry cleaners in Pennsylvania. The calendar is a convenient way for dry cleaners to maintain required federal and state records. DEP has distributed this invaluable compliance assistance tool since 2001. The 2017 calendar also includes a five-page Korean translation of the instructions.