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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.
Nearly 47 percent of the private-sector labor force in Pennsylvania are employees of small businesses.

From U.S. Small Business Administration, Office of Advocacy - 2018 Small Business Profile, Pennsylvania. The SBA defines small businesses as having 500 or fewer employees.

The DEP Small Business Environmental Assistance Program:
Helping Small Businesses Comply with Environmental Regulations

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.

Erie Technical Systems Inc. LED Lighting Upgrade Erie Technical Systems Inc. LED Lighting Upgrade
LED Lighting upgrade at Erie Technical Systems Inc., Erie, Erie County.
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.

SBEAP offers many resources to help Pennsylvania’s small businesses:

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

SBEAP 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 headquartered in the Widener University Small Business Development Center (SBDC). In addition, there are 18 SBDCs located in universities throughout the Commonwealth offering a wide range of assistance to start-ups and existing small businesses.

Services to Small Business Owners

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

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

Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) educational event SBIR educational event
EMAP’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) educational event at Villanova University, July 2017

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

Contact EMAP
Call toll-free: 877-ASK-EMAP (877-275-3627)
Jeremy Hancher, Program Manager: (610) 499-4322,

2017-18 EMAP Services by the Numbers

•  157 Businesses provided with in-depth assistance
•  61 Calls to EMAP Hotline
•  54 Non-hotline contacts (emails or direct calls)
•  42 Site Visits
•  26 Requests for Permit Assistance
•  29 New Clients Assisted

EMAP County Assistance 2017 EMAP County Assistance 2017 image

2017-18 EMAP Client Comments

“Our EMAP consultant has been absolutely invaluable to me! He has helped me prepare environmental documents and understand DEP expectations and guidelines and has helped me every step of the way. I can never thank you enough for the stress he took off of me and how much more educated and confident I feel about our environmental status. Thank you!”

“Our EMAP consultant is a true professional and a pleasure to work with. She has been an unbelievable resource as we navigate this process. She constantly puts our needs first and bridges any knowledge gaps we have regarding these matters. Without her, we would have invested several hundred hours and tens of thousands of dollars in trying to resolve these issues on our own.”

“The EMAP consultant that I was given a number to contact was the person that answered the phone and she was extremely knowledgeable in the information that we lacked for our air quality permit needs for PA DEP.”

Daycare Lighting upgrade thanks Lighting Upgrade Thanks
LED Lighting upgrade at Winnie the Pooh Daycare, Mt. Carmel, Northumberland County.

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.
  • Helps 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 both directly and through 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 which reduce waste, pollution, or energy use.

  • Eligibility:  Small businesses in Pennsylvania with 100 or fewer full-time equivalent employees
  • 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
Classic Drycleaners and Laundromats LED Lighting Upgrade Classic Drycleaners and Laundromats LED Lighting Upgrade
LED Lighting upgrade at Classic Drycleaners and Laundromats, Lemoyne, Cumberland County.

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.

Small Business Advantage Grant Program

In Fiscal Year 2017-18, the Small Business Advantage Grant (SBAG) program marked its 14th 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 annually. Eligible small businesses must be for-profit companies, have 100 or fewer full-time equivalent employees, and be located in Pennsylvania.
  • 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, depending on the project.
Digital X-ray Upgrade at Reynoldsville Chiropractic Life Center LLC, Reynoldsville, Jefferson County

2017-18 Small Business Advantage Grant Program by the Numbers

  • Application round opened: July 25, 2017; closed: October 31, 2017
  • Grants awarded: $925,020.14
  • Private Investment Leveraged: $1,922,585.74
  • Applications received: 193
  • Grant Recipients: 149

2017-18 Small Business Advantage Grant Recipients

SBAG Recepients Map
SBAG Recipients

2017-18 Small Business Advantage Grant Success Stories

A plastics manufacturer in Erie County applied for a grant to upgrade their old lighting to new, efficient LED fixtures. The $13,843 investment was matched with a $5,981 Small Business Advantage Grant and $1,791 in electric utility rebates. Savings for this small business: $9,954 and 155,000 kwh per year.
In Butler County, a veterinary practice received a $9,500 grant to upgrade from a film-based X-ray system to digital. The practice is saving more than $11,600 per year on X-ray supplies, eliminating over 1,000 gallons of developing chemicals, 30 boxes of radiation film, and 1,100 gallons of waste water from their annual waste stream, while saving 4,000 kwh of electricity annually. The simple payback period for their portion of the investment is just under four years.
A small trucking firm in Mercer County installed three 3 auxiliary power units in their long-haul trucks. They received a $9,500 Small Business Advantage Grant toward the project cost of $38,000. Estimated savings: 5,100 gallons of diesel fuel and over $15,000 in fuel costs annually.
An envelope manufacturer in Lackawanna County needed to upgrade the vacuum system used in the manufacturing process. They received a $9,500 Small Business Advantage Grant toward the purchase of a new vacuum and compressor system. Estimated savings: over $33,000 in energy costs, including over 400,000 kwh of electricity and 147 gallons of lubricating oil, per year.
A heat-treating/metallurgical company in Montgomery County saw the value of installing a water recirculating system to reuse the water used in the manufacturing process. Their project received a $9,500 grant towards an investment of $31,770 for the equipment. Estimated savings: nearly 4.4 million gallons of water, 3.5 million gallons of industrial wastewater, and $41,000 per year in water purchasing and wastewater disposal costs.
Swank Chiropractic DC Swank Chiropractic DC Digital X-ray Upgrade
Digital X-ray Upgrade at Swank Chiropractic DC, Dover, York County.

2017-18 Small Business Advantage Grant
Estimated Annual Energy/Pollution Savings

Energy/Pollutant Savings
Electricity 3,672,427 kWh
Natural Gas 1,878 Mcf
Diesel Fuel 5,136 gal
Hazardous Waste Sludge (Perchloroethylene) 309 gal
Heating/Lubricating Oil 2,810 gal
Film Developing Chemicals 3,725 gal
Wastewater 3,764,000 gal
X-Ray Film kept from landfill 416 boxes
Miscellaneous landfill waste (Approx.) 4,000 lb
CO2 16 tons
NOx 0.25 tons
Particulates 0.2 tons

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.

Bon Tool Company Bon Tool Company Upgrade
Lighting Upgrade at Bon Tool Company, Gibsonia, Allegheny County.

Committee Membership
Dale Kaplan, Chairman, President, Kaplan’s Careful Cleaners
Walter Schroth, President, Schroth Industries
Rebecca Oyler, National Federation of Independent Business Pennsylvania
Jeremy Hancher, Pennsylvania EMAP
Ed Boito, Small Business Ombudsman, DEP
Patrick McDonnell, Secretary, DEP
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 helps 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. They also engage with Northampton Community College’s Engineering Department to involve student interns in the energy assessments. Over the course of the fiscal year, more than 45 internship hours accrued with on-site assessments, providing students with real-world applications to their classroom education. ETAC’s office is located at the Northampton County Community College in Bethlehem.

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

2017-18 ETAC Success Files

ETAC conducted a one-day energy assessment for a Schuylkill County potato products manufacturer. The analysis was sponsored with DEP grant funding. The one-day analysis identified 9 energy savings opportunities which, if implemented, will conserve:
  • 241,257 kWh/year
  • $130,612 in potential annual savings
  • 4,542,375 lbs. of CO2
  • 530 lbs. of SOx
  • 292 lbs. of NOx
  • 271 lbs. of particulate matter
ETAC performed an energy assessment for a molded cardboard products facility in Lebanon County. The one-day assessment identified 10 energy management opportunities which, if implemented, will conserve:
  • 348,994 kWh/year
  • $160,431 in potential annual savings
  • 5,146,629 lbs. of CO2
  • 289 lbs. of SOx
  • 320 lbs. of NOx
  • 305 lbs. of particulate matter
A Berks County foundry requested that ETAC conduct an investment grade energy efficiency assessment of their facility to assist them in finding energy savings and cost reduction measures. This study was funded with grant support from DEP and Ben Franklin Technology Partners, in addition to company dollars. The total implementation cost for all the Energy Management Opportunities (EMO) is estimated to be $165,475, with several having a simple payback of less than 1.0 year. Several of the opportunities could result in electrical energy savings qualified for rebates from First Energy under PA Act 129 (Energy Save PA Program). In addition, ETAC identified replacement of the oil-fired water heater as a potential candidate for the PA DEP Small Business Advantage Grant.
In addition to the energy savings, resulting annual air emissions savings are:
  • 1,862,515 lbs. of CO2
  • 2,403 lbs. of SOx
  • 1,043 lbs. of NOx
Voodoo Brewing Company LED Lighting Upgrade Voodoo Brewing Company LED Lighting Upgrade
LED Lighting and Circulating Fan Upgrade at Voodoo Brewing Company, Meadville, Crawford County.

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.

PSU graduate and undergraduate students are engaged with the energy and technical assessments to develop hands-on educational training. This provides students with real-world, practical application of their education, as well as the chance to make connections within the community. PennTAP’s main office is in State College, with additional staff in Pittsburgh.

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

2017-18 PennTAP Success Stories

Roaring Spring Paper Products was looking for opportunities to save energy and cut costs throughout their facility. By collaborating with a PennTAP advisor and student team, they identified two areas in need of improvement: outdated lighting and audible leaks in the compressed air system. Read More
The PennTAP team completed a walk-through of U.S. Silica and recommended lighting and system updates to increase the facility’s energy efficiency and reduce energy costs. Read More
PennTAP worked with a maple syrup producer to upgrade their production process by adding an energy-efficient reverse osmosis machine which helped them save costs and reduce direct air emissions. Read More

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.

Success File: 2018 Dry Cleaner Calendar

The 2018 Dry Cleaner Compliance Calendar was distributed in October 2017 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 2018 calendar also includes a five-page Korean translation of the instructions.