Environmental Management Assistance Program
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EMAP Program Manager reappointed to DEP Small Business Compliance Advisory Committee

On July 7th, 2022, EMAP Program Manager, Jeremy Hancher, was reappointed to the Pennsylvania DEP Small Business Compliance Advisory Committee by Governor Tom Wolf for four years. In this role as a committee member, Mr. Hancher helps review proposed and existing regulations and programs that may affect small businesses, assists to assure such regulations are written in clear and understandable terms, and advises DEP of the small business perspective on air quality issues.
Commenting on his reappointment Mr. Hancher noted the following, “It is with profound excitement to continue to serve on this very important committee and help be a voice for Pennsylvania small businesses. I am honored with the responsibilities bestowed by Governor Wolf to continue this service to the small businesses in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.”  
The Small Business Compliance Advisory Committee was mandated by the Pennsylvania Air Pollution Control Act and fulfills the federal mandate as outlined in Section 507 of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. Meetings of the committee are held quarterly and are open to the public.

EPA seeks small business input on proposed TSCA rule

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is looking for small businesses to participate on a panel that will focus on the development of a proposed rule that will focus on potential risks from existing chemicals.  This rule will collect data in the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) risk evaluation and risk management process. To learn more about this opportunity please see this recently published press release by EPA. Small business self-nominations may be submitted through this link and must be received by July 20, 2022.

EMAP Receives 2022 National Small Business Environmental Assistance Program Excellence Award

The National Steering Committee (NSC) of Small Business Environmental Assistance Programs (SBEAPs) & Small Business Ombudsmen (SBO) have selected the Environmental Management Assistance Program (EMAP) of Widener University with the 2022 Small Business Environmental Assistance Program Excellence Award. This award category recognizes exemplary performance of a state SBEAP in the areas of compliance assistance, sustainability, advocacy, and collaboration at the national level. The SBEAP Excellence Award emphasizes program leadership where they have created resources and work products, promoted policy advancements, developed program innovations, and established new partnerships to build a strong network of small business assistance.

Since 1997, EMAP has provided free and confidential environmental technical assistance to the small business community in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Headquartered at Widener University in the School of Business Administration on Widener’s main campus located in Chester, Pennsylvania, EMAP services are available throughout the entire network of the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) to any Pennsylvania small business seeking assistance with issues of air quality and environmental compliance.

 

The EMAP team, which includes Lee Ann Briggs, Jeremy Hancher, Charles Haney, and Carrie Wintersteen, was chosen by the SBEAP/SBO for their involvement and leadership with the National Steering Committee, the Technical and Annual Training Subcommittees, and the Environmental Justice Workgroup.  In addition, EMAP was recognized for performing small business analyses on several Pennsylvania air quality rulemakings, for collaborating with the SBDCs and the Pennsylvania DEP Small Business Ombudsman to conduct in-person workshops and virtual webinars on environmental resources, and in partnering with other Pennsylvania stakeholder organizations and trade associations.

 

Since 2018, EMAP Program Manager Jeremy Hancher has served as an appointee from Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf on the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Small Business Compliance Advisory Committee (SBCAC).  This committee provides timely feedback on Pennsylvania air quality regulations and proposed rulemakings, environmental policies and programs, and represents the perspectives and challenges faced by Pennsylvania small businesses.

 

Dale Kaplan, owner of Kaplan’s Careful Cleaners and long-time Chair of the SBCAC, commented on EMAP services and having received the award by saying, “I have been with the DEP Small Business Compliance Advisory Committee for 26 years and EMAP has stepped up to the plate, the whole team, along with the 16 SBDC universities across the state and have served small businesses in a way that is really phenomenal.  You deserve what you are getting, thank you.”

 

Several EMAP small business clients have received National SBEAP small business awards of their own including Pennsylvania small businesses Abilene Boot Company in 2022, Dent Design Hardware in 2021, Gate 7 LLC in 2020, and Pik Rite, Inc. in 2017.  During the COVID-19 pandemic, EMAP continued to be a reliable and steady presence to Pennsylvania small businesses needing environmental assistance and support.  EMAP even pivoted during the early stages of COVID to utilize its connections within the Pennsylvania SBDC to provide firsthand knowledge of economic opportunities so that small businesses could access small business grants and low-interest loans related to COVID related shutdown orders.

 

Always looking to better assist Pennsylvania small businesses in any way they can, the EMAP team recently surveyed their small business clients that received technical assistance in 2021.  One small business noted the following in the survey:

“I’ve worked with EMAP for many years. The services they provide to small businesses are exceptional. I have and will continue to work with and support EMAP and continue to recommend and refer them to others as well.”
 

Abilene Boot selected for the 2022 Small Business Environmental Stewardship Award

The National Steering Committee (NSC) of the Small Business Environmental Assistance Programs (SBEAPs) & Small Business Ombudsmen (SBO) have recognized Abilene Boot Company with the 2022 Small Business Environmental Stewardship Award.

This small boot manufacturer and EMAP client, Abilene Boot Company, based in Somerset, Pennsylvania, received this prestigious award for its accomplishments in the areas of improving environmental performance, pollution prevention, and sustainability.   Abilene Boot was recognized for working with EMAP in evaluating the company’s air quality compliance for its operations.  This includied reviewing their natural minor operating permit, looking at coating and adhesives usage, calculating their air quality emissions, and quantifying VOCs and HAPs for the small manufacturing operation. Read More    

Control of VOC Emissions from Gasoline Dispensing Facilities (Stage I & Stage II)

The Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board finalized a final-form rulemaking that amends air quality regulations related to the control of VOC emissions at gasoline dispensing facilities. The rulemaking went into effect on March 26th, 2022 and targets Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) emissions during the following situations:
  • Loading of underground gasoline storage tanks (or Stage I vapor recovery)
  • Filling of motor vehicles at the pump (or Stage II vapor recovery)
  • During and after decommissioning of Stage II vapor recovery equipment from gasoline dispensing pumps.
The final-form rulemaking also adds and amends definitions related to Stage I and Stage II vapor recovery systems. A copy of the final preamble and regulation can be accessed here.

What is Stage I Vapor Recovery Systems?

“Stage I” refers to a vapor recovery system that controls the emission of gasoline vapors into the atmosphere during the transfer of gas from a gasoline tank truck to a gasoline storage tank at a Gasoline Dispensing Facility (GDF). A properly operating Stage I vapor recovery system returns vapors to the gasoline tank truck.  The equipment and controls of a Stage I system also control the emission of gasoline vapors during the storage of gasoline vapors at a GDF.

What is Stage II Vapor Recovery Systems?

“Stage II” refers to the vapor recovery system that controls the emission of vapors during the transfer of gasoline from a gasoline storage tank at a GDF to a motor vehicle fuel tank.  A Stage II vapor recovery system also controls emissions into the the atmosphere of vapors during the storage of gasoline at a GDF. Stage II vapor recovery technology uses special refueling nozzles, dispensing hoses and a system that draws refueling vapors in the Underground Storage Tank (UST).  A properly operating Stage II system moves the gasoline vapors from the motor vehicle fuel tank druing the refueling of the vehicle into the UST at the GDF.

Who is Affected by This Rulemaking?

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has finalized regulatory requirements for GDF owners and operators to decommission their Stage II vapor recovery system in 12 counties in the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh areas.  The compliance date for the decommissioning of Stage II systems is December 31, 2022.
  • The 12 Pennsylvania counties include: Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Bucks, Butler, Chester, Delaware, Fayette, Montgomery, Philadelphia, Washington, and Westmoreland.
  • Owners and operators are those with gasoline throughputs that exceed at anytime >10,000 gallons per month (or 120,000 gallons per year) and independent small business marketers of gasoline that have a monthly throughput >50,000 gallons per month (or 600,000 gallons per year) in the above mentioned 12 Pennsylvania counties.
  • Persons performing decommissioning procedures, leak testing, and repairs at gasoline dispensing facilities.

What Happens After Decommissioning Takes Place?

For those entities that need to decommission their Stage II vapor recovery system by December 31, 2022, a notification form needs to be completed and submitted to the appropriate DEP regional office, Allegheny County Health Department, or Philadelphia Air Management Services.

Where Can I Learn More about this Rulemaking?

Pennsylvania DEP has put together a Frequently Asked Questions on their website for Decommissioning Stage II Vapor Recovery Systems at Gasoline Dispensing Facilities. In addition, Pennsylvania small businesses can always contact EMAP for further information and assistance if this rulemaking may affect your small business operation.  Simply call EMAP’s toll-free environmental hotline at (877) ASK-EMAP or email us at questions@askemap.org.

Environmental Justice Policy Now Available for Public Comment

After years of preparation and collaboration, an updated Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Environmental Justice Policy is available for official public comment from now until May 11th. The draft policy moves beyond the public participation in the permitting process – it looks at ways DEP can further environmental justice goals in compliance, enforcement, grantmaking, and other aspects of DEP’s work. DEP will host three virtual public hearings in April to accept verbal public comment. Written public comment is also always welcome. Read the updated policy, view the public hearing dates, and learn how to comment at the EJ Policy Revision webpage. The changes that have been discussed and devised with stakeholders for years, including small businesses, are now assembled in a draft policy that has eight sections.
  • General Information includes definitions, history and background, a description of the Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ), and the Environmental Justice Advisory Board (EJAB).
  • Permit Review Process is the process around implementing additional public input around particular permits when they are submitted.
  • Community Input describes a range of opportunities for public input throughout and before the permit review process.
  • Oil and Gas Public Engagement was a major need identified by community members and was included in the fourth section.
  • Inspections, Compliance, and Enforcement guidance helps the policy move beyond public participation in the permitting process and are covered in the fifth section.
  • Climate Initiatives spells out ways that EJ can be included in the climate action plan and other efforts.
  • Community Development and Investments look to ways to financially assist communities facing environmental justice issues in the seventh section.
  • Policy Updates, the final section, specifies that the policy should be reviewed for updates regularly to ensure that the policy continues to address community concerns.
At the request of stakeholders, this policy goes beyond the current policy’s scope of public participation and meetings during the review of permit applications. This policy integrates environmental justice into more of the Department’s functions including climate initiatives, penalties (Inspections, Compliance, and Enforcement), and grantmaking (Community Development and Investments). Visit the policy revision webpage to review the policy today and learn how to comment. Three virtual public hearings will be held to provide an opportunity to learn more about the policy and provide and opportunity to give verbal public comment.  Virtual public hearing times and information on how to sign up can be found on the EJ policy revision webpage.

1-BP Added to Hazardous Air Pollutants List

EPA has now added 1-BP to the Clean Air Act List of Hazardous Air Pollutants.  EPA Administrator Michael Regan signed the final rule on December 22, 2021 and this action was published in the Federal Register on January 5, 2022. The effective date of this final rule is February 4, 2022.
EMAP previously wrote about this topic which can be found here.
1-bromopropane (1-BP), also commonly known as nPB, is a chemical solvent often used in surface coating operations, dry cleaning, and in electronics and metal cleaning. 1-BP is also used an adhesive and is sometimes used in the manufacturing process in pharmaceutical and agricultural industries.

What does this rule mean for Pennsylvania small businesses?

If you are a Pennsylvania small business and use 1-BP as part of your operations, you will now need to take into account the use of 1-BP as a regulated Hazardous Air Pollutant (HAP). In Pennsylvania, an air quality permit is required if the actual emissions of a single HAP is greater than 1.0 ton per year or if emissions from multiple HAPs are greater than 2.5 tons per year. If you are an existing Pennsylvania small business that already uses 1-BP then you will now need to take into account the use of 1-BP in facility wide air quality permit limits, requirements, and reporting standards.

Are there any new special requirements that apply due to the 1-BP listing as a HAP?

Simply answered, no, there are no new requirements that will apply to a facility for simply using 1-BP in normal small business operations. The more complex narrative is that the use of 1-BP may affect a facility’s classification as an area source or air quality emissions into a major source, or Title V facility, due to the use of 1-BP and taking into account the facility’s Potential To Emit (PTE).  To help better explain this, EPA has put together a Question and Answers document on the Listing of 1-BP as a Clean Air Act Hazardous Air Pollutant.

Small Business Assistance with 1-BP

If any of this confuses you as a Pennsylvania small business owner or operator, EMAP’s highly skilled team of environmental assistance providers is available to talk one-on-one.  Simply call our toll-free environmental hotline at (877) ASK-EMAP or send us an email at questions@askemap.org.

Proposed Rulemaking for Dry Cleaning Facilities

EPA has proposed amendments to the National Perchloroethylene Air Emission Standards for Dry Cleaning Facilities. This proposal would add provisions which would require all dry-to-dry machines at new and existing facilities to have both refrigerated condensers and carbon adsorbers as secondary controls.
The request for comment period is currently open.  EPA seeks comments and information regarding the number of third generation and earlier model dry cleaning machines that potentially could still be in operation.  In addition, EPA seeks information on dry cleaning practices, processes, and control technologies that could reduce emissions from hazardous air pollutions, or HAPs, for fourth generation (or better) dry cleaning machines.
A copy of the rule summary, the new proposed rule, and fact sheets can be found here.
General speaking, most dry cleaning facilities and operations are small businesses.  Estimates from EPA report that there are approximately 10,000 to 15,000 perchloroethylene dry cleaning facilities in the United States.  Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic it is estimated that 10-15% of perc dry cleaners have closed.

Environmental Reports due March 1st 2022

March 1st is an important deadline for some small businesses that may be subject to Air Quality Emissions Inventory or Hazardous Waste Biennial Reporting. The Annual Emission Statement (AES) report is required by the Pennsylvania DEP Bureau of Air Quality to report on point sources meeting certain thresholds for large emitters of air pollution.  Facilities inventoried for emission statement purposes may include Non-Title V facilities, or smaller “area sources” of air emissions. Regional DEP air quality staff will often determine and notify which facilities are required to report on their air emissions. More often than not, this requirement will be listed in a facility’s State-Only Operating Permit. There are some emission reporting exemptions for small stationary sources. If you are a small business and question whether or not you are subject to air quality emissions reporting, please contact one of our EMAP environmental consultants for further assistance.
The Hazardous Waste Biennial Report is due March 1, 2022 and is required of any Pennsylvania hazardous waste Large Quantity Generator (LQG) for the calendar year ending December 31, 2021.  A small business is considered a LQG of hazardous waste if your operation generates more than 2,200 lbs of hazardous waste or more than 2.2 lbs of acute hazardous waste per calendar month.
Small businesses with an obligation to report hazardous waste acitivities should use EPA’s RCRAInfo system for the electronic submission process.
Additional information on hazardous waste reporting requirements can be found on the Pennsylvania DEP’s website found here.
If you are a Pennsylvania small business that needs further assistance with air quality emissions reporting or the hazardous waste biennial report, contact EMAP by calling our toll-free environmental hotline at (877) ASK-EMAP or email us at questions@askemap.org.

The Circular Merchant: Pennsylvania’s New Materials Exchange

A new online platform to exchange materials is now available to Pennsylvania small businesses and organizations.  The Circular Merchant, hosted by the Pennsylvania Recycling Markets Center, allows facilities and operations a way to get rid of unneeded materials by posting items on the new website or via a smartphone app.
Items that may be exchanged include examples such as electronic scrap, glass, organics & composting, paper & cardboard, plastics, metals, textiles, and yard sale items.  Users can browse for materials on the Circular Merchant website or create a listing to get rid of excess materials as a means of sustainably recycling or reusing materials.
The benefits are obvious for small businesses and users.  Less waste goes to landfills, businesses can become better stewards of the environment, and a little money can be made (if desired).
The Circular Merchant takes the place of the retired Pennsyvania Material Trader website.  The PA Material Trader was originally established in 2004 by EMAP and the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers (SBDC). Operating under the premise that what may be “trash” to one small business may be a “treasure” to another, the PA Material Trader had seen its glory days behind it.  Thus, EMAP’s friends and partners over at the Recycling Markets Center took in and embraced the premise of hosting Pennsylvania’s material exchange platform.

2022 Dry Cleaner Compliance Calendars available

Pennsylvania dry cleaners can now request copies of the 2022 Dry Cleaner Compliance Calendar. These calendars are an important small business environmental compliance tool to help fulfill recordkeeping requirements per state and federal regulations. EMAP has a select amount of print copies of the 2022 calendar available that we will be happy to mail out to any Pennsylvania dry cleaners in need. Simply contact us at our toll-free environmental hotline at (877) ASK-EMAP or email us at questions@askemap.org. Electronic versions are also available online at EMAP’s Industry Sector Resources for Dry Cleaners. Also important to note is that the use of perc machines at dry cleaning facilities located in buildings in which people reside such as houses, apartments, condos, and co-ops (co-residential) was prohibited after December 21, 2020. See here for more information about this upcoming residential perc phase-out.

Agriculture Energy Efficiency Rebate Program

Pennsylvania farms and agricultural operations may be eligible to receive rebates for energy efficiency projects through a new program offered by Pennsylvania DEP. Applications are being accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis as long as funding is available through March 31, 2022. Implementing energy efficiency measures is typically one of the easiest ways for any small business, farm, or agricultural operation to reduce operational costs, save money, reduce waste, and do good for the environment. Eligible projects for these rebates include LED lighting and variable frequency drives for milk vacuum pumps and ventilation fans. Information on eligibility and rebate amounts can be found here. If you are a Pennsylvania small business or agricultural operation and need further assistance about this rebate program, please feel free to contact EMAP by emailing us at questions@askemap.org or call our toll-free environmental hotline at (877) ASK-EMAP.

DEP Enhanced Public Participation Policy

Pennsylvania DEP recently developed the Environmental Justice Enhanced Public Participation Policy.  This policy was created to ensure that environmental justice communities have the opportunity to participate and be involved in a meaningful manner throughout the permitting process when companies propose permitted facilities in their neighborhood or when existing facilities expand their operations.
For permit applicants, DEP is strongly encouraging applicants to perform community outreach, provide information to the public and local community, schedule pre-application meetings, and meet one-on-one or in a public setting with local & community stakeholders.

So what is Environmental Justice?

Environmental Justice, or EJ, is the idea or principle where communties and populations should not be disproportionally exposed to adverse environmental impacts.  EJ has historically occured in minority or low-income communities where these populations have beared a higher-than-usual proportion of adverse environmental impacts such as poor air quality, contaminated soil, or unhealthy drinking water.

Permit Applicant Checklist

For any small businesses that has a facility or operation within an EJ community, the following list of items are strongly being recommended by Pennsylvania DEP to undertake:
  • Become familiar with the Environmental Justice Enhanced Public Policy.
  • Contact the EJ coordinator in your particular region.
  • Engage the local community early in the process and schedule at least one public meeting.  The EJ coordinator will assist in planning an effective community meeting.
To determine if your small business might be located in an EJ area, Pennsylvania DEP has developed the EJ Areas Viewer at http://dep.pa.gov/EJViewer.

Contact EMAP to discuss EJ Issues for your Small Business

If your small business has additional questions related to environmental justice and how it may affect your environmental permit application in Pennsylvania, you can speak with one of EMAP’s environmental consultants by contacting our toll-free environmental hotline at (877) ASK-EMAP or email us at questions@askemap.org.

2021 DEP Small Business Advantage Grant

The Pennsylvania DEP’s Small Business Advantage Grant program is now open and accepting applications. This is an excellent way for Pennsylvania small businesses to reduce their environmental impact while reducing operating costs and become more efficient. The Small Business Advantage Grant (SBAG) is a grant program providing 50 percent matching grants, up to a maximum of $5,000, to enable a Pennsylvania small business to invest in pollution prevention measure, install energy efficient equipement, or implement natural resource protection projects. Well-designed energy efficient or pollution prevention projects can help small businesses cut costs and reduce the risk of regulatory issues, while simultaneously protecting the environment. Examples of eligible projects include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • Energy efficient LED lighting,
  • High efficiency furnaces, boilers and air conditioners,
  • Digital X-ray equipment,
  • Water & waste recycling processes,
  • Solvent recovery systems,
  • Agricultural BMPs.
Applications are reviewed and awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis. Pennsylvania businesses with fewer than 100 full-time employees are eligible to apply.  Applicants must be for-profit entities located in Pennsylvania and registered with the PA Department of State.  Eligible projects must save the applicant a minimum of $500 annually and save operating costs by a minimum of 25%. Applications will be accepted for small businesses to implement solar thermal (hot water) projects.  Solar hot water systems must function to serve the hot water needs of the small business.  Solar projects generating electricity (PV) are not eligible. CLICK HERE to learn more.

Dent Design Hardware selected for 2021 Small Business Environmental Stewardship Award

The National Steering Committee (NSC) of Small Business Environmental Assistance Programs (SBEAPs) & Small Business Ombudsmen (SBO) have recognized Dent Design Hardware with the 2021 Small Business Environmental Stewardship Award.

The company, Dent Design Hardware, based in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, was recognized for its accomplishments in the areas of improving environmental performance, pollution prevention, and sustainability. EMAP Program Manager Jeremy Hancher commented with the following:
“Dent Design Hardware has been a good role model for very small businesses, especially in the manufacturing sector, challenged with environmental and economic challenges.  Tim Dodge and Dent Design Hardware have worked tirelessly at achieving environmental compliance, reducing waste, and working with Pennsylvania DEP. It is certainly not easy for a small business owner to suddenly become a storm chaser collecting stormwater samples, so we are extremely happy to see Dent Design Hardware be recognized for their positive environmental actions.”
Mr. Tim Dodge, owner of Dent Design, described his environmental philosophy by adding: “DENT uses geo-thermal heating and cooling for the manufacturing location, works only with food-grade materials in our Walk In Hardware line, and strives to be good stewards of the 2.6 acre property which is more than 50% natural growth riparian buffer to ensure that stormwater is absorbed into the ground as much as possible and avoid runoff.”  

Environmental Webinars in 2021

Do you want to learn more about environmental requirements, resources, and other opportunities for your Pennsylvania small business?  Are you looking to more effectively manage your business to comply with state, federal, and local environmental requirements?  Look no further as a series of webinars are being offered this year in 2021 to help better prepare your small business on all things environmental. In partnership with the Clarion University Small Business Development Center (SBDC), the Environmental Management Assistance Program (EMAP) and the Small Business Ombudsman’s Office at the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is proud to offer a series of webinars for small businesses to learn more about environmental issues and the free resources available to them in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. These webinars are being offered at no cost but registration is required.  The following are the dates and topics of the webinars with links to registration:

April 20, 2021 – Air Quality Permitting 101 and Small Business Environmental Resources

In this webinar, EMAP will provide the groundwork of understanding air quality regulations in the state of Pennsylvania and how your small business can best manage this seemingly complex regulatory area.  We will also cover the free and confidential resources available to small businesses through the Pennsylvania DEP Small Business Ombudsman’s Office.

May 13, 2021 – Environmental Management Assistance Program (EMAP) Overview

Does your small business struggle with Environmental Concerns? Did you know that the Environmental Management Assistance Program is available to help you navigate those concerns……at no cost?  Join Jeremy Hancher and Carrie Wintersteen, members of the EMAP team, as they explain how EMAP can assist your business, what a typical engagement involves, and tips and tricks to save money while caring for the environment.

June 17, 2021 – Environmental Tips & Tricks and the Small Business Ombudsman’s Office

EMAP will provide common tips & tricks that every small business could use to better effectively manage their environmental operations. We will also cover the free and confidential resources available to small businesses through the Pennsylvania DEP Small Business Ombudsman’s Office.

September 16, 2021 – Pennsvylania Environmental Resources, FAQs, and More

EMAP will answer frequently asked questions that Pennsylvania small businesses often have when attempting to manage local, state, and federal environmental regulations & requirements. We will also cover the free and confidential environmental resources available to small businesses through the Pennsylvania DEP Small Business Ombudsman’s Office. (Registration link coming soon.)

New and Increased Fees for Pennsylvania Air Quality Applications

Effective Saturday, January 16, 2021 as a result of a three-year regulatory process, all Pennsylvania DEP air quality applications, permits, Request for Determinations (RFDs), and initial Asbestos Notifications will be subject to new and/or increased fees.
Pennsylvania small businesses should note that any air quality applications, RFDs, or initial Asbestos Notifications received on or after 1/16/2021 by Pennsylvania DEP’s Air Quality Program must be accompanied by the new or updated fee amount.
Common air quality applications used and submitted by small businesses include Plan Approval applications (new), modifications, and extensions as well as State-Only Operating Permit applications (new) and renewals.
For those small business facilities with existing air quality permits a new “annual operating permit maintenance fee” will take place in 2021 which will replace the “annual operating permit administration fee”.  This new maintenance fee will vary depending whether the facility status is considered a “natural minor” versus “synthetic minor” and the fee will also vary due to the calendar year.
Small businesses that qualify as a “small business stationary source” should take particular note that Requests for Determinations (RFDs), which are often used to determine if a facility or operation is exempt from air permitting or not, will now be subject to a fee equal to the following:
  • $400 for RFDs during calendar years 2021 – 2025
  • $500 for RFDs during calendar years 2026 – 2030
  • $600 for RFDs during calendar years beginning in 2031
The new Pennsylvania air quality fees can be found in the Air Quality Fee Schedule Amendments as posted in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.
A summary of the new fees for non-Title V sources can be found below and are the ones most likely to affect small business operations in Pennsylvania.
  If you are a Pennsylvania small business and would like to know more as to how the new air quality fees may affect your business operation, you can talk to one of EMAP’s environmental consultants by calling our toll-free environmental hotline at (877) ASK-EMAP or emailing EMAP at questions@askemap.org.
 

EPA Webinar on Effectiveness of Medical and Cloth Masks for COVID-19 Protection

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is offering a free webinar on Wednesday, January 27, 2021 entitled “Effectiveness of Medical and Cloth Masks for COVID-19 Protection”. 
Due to little or no public information on the performance and efficacy of different types of masks or modifications on existing face coverings, the webinar will highligh three research projects EPA did in collaboration with the University of North Carolina.
The webinar is free and open to the public, although registration is required.  For a more detailed description of the event and to register, please click here.

Updated General Information Form Now Available for DEP Permit Applications

Pennsylvania DEP has updated its General Information Form (GIF) which is a form used to facilitate coordination between different types of permit or authorization applications for the same project.  The updated GIF form can be accessed in DEP’s eLibrary found here.
Small business permit applicants should begin using the updated forms immediately as older versions of the GIF form will only be accepted through September 30, 2020.
The GIF form is typically used in situations when a small business submits a permit application to Pennsylvania DEP for the very first time for a particular project. This could be if a business decides to start a new type of operation in Pennsylvania and it is determined that an environmental permit application will be needed.  The form is thus used to determine whether additional environmental permit applications will be required for the project.
As an example, if a small business is required to submit an air quality permit application for a project, and the business has never submitted an environmental permit application to DEP in the past, then the GIF form is a tool used by DEP to determine if additional permit applications (e.g. waste, stormwater, etc.) will also be required.
If a small business is considering starting a new project in Pennsylvania, or is expanding or relocating an existing operation, then it is suggested to first use Pennsylvania DEP’s Permit Application Consultation Tool.
Small businesses in Pennsylvania can also reach out to EMAP staff to discuss your project and see if any environmental permit applications may be required by DEP.  All EMAP services are strictly confidential and are offered at no cost.

Benton Foundry Recognized by Wolf Administration

DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell visits the Benton Foundry in Benton, Columbia County, today to celebrate the company’s full-facility energy audit using DEP grant funding, and the implementation of energy efficiency improvements to reduce energy usage, decrease air pollution, and save money. Secretary McDonnell will be joined by representatives from the Benton Foundry and project partners from Northampton Community College, Ben Franklin Technology Partners, and PPL to discuss the company’s energy efficiency work and tour the facility. A full facility energy audit of the Benton Foundry was completed by the Emerging Technology Applications Center (ETAC) at Northampton Community College with the support of DEP grant funding, the Ben Franklin Technology Partners, and matching company dollars. Following the audit, the Benton Foundry implemented variable frequency drives for three bag houses and compressed air controls, resulting in a savings of 1,474,536 kilowatt hours per year. The reduction of energy usage significantly reduces the emissions of air pollutants and saves the Benton Foundry $89,800 per year. DEP has provided ongoing funding support for ETAC’s work to assist the Benton Foundry and other small and mid-sized businesses in their efforts to reduce energy consumption and emissions. DEP’s Air Quality Program has also provided plan approval for the Benton Foundry’s operations and oversees compliance with applicable air quality regulations.
ETAC conducts investment-grade energy, industrial process and waste minimization assessments. Assessments include a pre-assessment questionnaire, an on-site assessment and a comprehensive final report. They focus on:
  • Electric demand control
  • Waste heat recovery
  • Combustion efficiency
  • HVAC
  • Lighting
  • Process heating and cooling
  • CHP
  • Utility purchasing
  • Equipment control
  • Compressed air
  • Motors
CLICK HERE to learn more about ETAC services.
CLICK HERE to read DEP’s press release

EMAP Wins Targeted Service Award During Annual SBDC Meeting in York

This award was given to recognize service to the entire Pennsylvania SBDC network in a targeted service area. The Pennsylvania SBDC’s Environmental Management Assistance Program (EMAP) was recently awarded the 2015 U.S. EPA Administrator’s Award for Outstanding Accomplishments by a Small Business Trade or State Small Business Environmental Assistance Provider, thus making them the recipient of the Targeted Services Award.

EMAP Wins National EPA Honor for Assistance to Small Businesses

The Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers (SBDC)’s Environmental Management Assistance Program (EMAP) was awarded the Fiscal Year 2015 U.S. EPA Administrator’s Award for Outstanding Accomplishments by a Small Business Trade or State Small Business Environmental Assistance Provider. The award was presented on May 5, 2016 during the U.S. EPA Administrator’s 26th Annual Small Business Program Awards Ceremony. The event recognized various program activities, individuals, businesses, and state and local entities for their outstanding contributions in Fiscal Year 2015.

EMAP Clients Receive Small Business Advantage Grants

In the latest round of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Small Business Advantage Grants, 46 EMAP clients received grants totaling $272,740.  These funds will go a long way to help these small businesses become more sustainable and reduce their operating costs.
Since DEP opened the Small Business Advantage Grant program in 2004, EMAP clients have received 235 grants for over $1.3 million in funds. The program provides grants of up to $7,500 for eligible projects to small businesses with a 50% cost share required. For more information on the grant program, click here.
 

New EMAP website launches

 
We’re very happy to announce that we’re launching a fresh, new look for the AskEMAP website. Our primary goal was to improve the ability of our clients to find the information they were looking for, in a well-organized, user-friendly and attractive format. The new format streamlines our services and enhances our ability to educate our clients. The site does a much better job of making information easily accessible, with
  • logical top navigation on the home page guiding people to the information they want/need: who we are, how we can help with compliance energy efficiency questions; and
  • areas where we can highlight topics of special interest like funding, and “hot topics” like renewable energy . The front page also features success story teasers and News posts.
  • more logical and consistent layout of information throughout internal pages, allowing us to better present larger amounts of relevant information, call out helpful resources, incorporate images, and simplify the navigation for the reader. We’ve also enhanced the presence of our contact info and Waste Exchanges as well as provided more effective cross-referencing with state-wide services offered by the Pennsylvania SBDC.
There are a variety of new features:
  • There is now a true content-management-based search function for the site, to help clients find the exact topic they want, quickly.
  • Of particular note is the News section which now houses all of our EMAP in the News, Success Stories, News for Small Business, Press Releases, and EMAP in Action. This section can be searched by category, date, or relevant tags so clients or journalists can find stories based on topics they’re interested in.
  • We’ve added an RSS feed to the News section so journalists can opt to keep an eye on our latest and greatest, greatly enhancing the likelihood our stories will be published.
  • The updating/editing of this site is incredibly easy. While users won’t see that exactly, they will benefit from the increased speed with which information makes it onto the site, in a consistent and formulaic way across relevant sections.
Other behind-the-scenes enhancements have been made as well. The new site is optimized to make it easier for people coming from search engines like Google to find us. We’ve also taken great care to ensure that we’re adhering to current accessibility guidelines. As newer browsers are more standards-compliant, we recommend that you visit our site with a current browser, such as: Have more suggestions for improving the site? Let us know – we need your help in making askemap.org as informative and helpful as possible.
 

Yellow Springs Farm Saves With Solar

Yellow Springs Farm promotes land stewardship through the propagation and sale of native plant species. The farm came to the Kutztown University SBDC with a broad vision of becoming energy efficient. EMAP consultant Jeremy Hancher met with Al Renzi to discuss ways to improve energy efficiency while making upgrades to various buildings on the Farm. When Renzi brought up the possibility of using solar panels on the roof of his barn, Hancher worked with him to provide a complete financial analysis of a 4.9 Kilowatt (Kw) photovoltaic system. His report concluded that the electricity generated from the solar energy system would provide approximately 56 percent of total electricity use. Hancher also helped determine project costs and estimated the simple payback. He recommended Renzi applying for a Small Business Advantage Grant from the Pennsylvania DEP to help offset the initial costs and shorten the payback period. With EMAP assistance, Yellow Springs Farm applied for and received the full $7,500 requested. By implementing the solar project, the company will generate approximately 5,440 kWh “off the grid.” This will reduce electricity costs by nearly $780 per year, with a payback period of about 2-3 years. More about the Pennsylvania SBDCs and EMAP The Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers’ Environmental Management Assistance Program assists firms with identifying environmental regulatory compliance requirements and supports the development of companies with new energy and environmental technologies. One-on-one consulting is available to help prepare and review proposals, find new commercial markets, identify potential sources of funding, and find potential project partners. Visit www.askemap.org for more information on how businesses can start saving money and contribute to a cleaner environment. Since its inception in 1980, the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) has evolved into a network of 18 college- and university-based centers and more than 90 outreach locations, operating under the guidance of the State Director located at the University of Pennsylvania. The SBDCs play a unique and vital role in the Commonwealth’s economic development initiatives as the only organization that, in utilizing the expertise and resources of some of the best colleges and universities in the state, assists entrepreneurs in all stages of business and all industry sectors. Funding support from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the US Small Business Administration and the SBDC host institutions enables consulting services to be provided at no charge to the client. For more information on the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers’ services and impact, visit www.pasbdc.org.

Pennsylvania’s Environmental Management Assistance Program Helps Small Businesses Find the Green to Go Green

PHILADELPHIA—Fifty-four small businesses in the Commonwealth are becoming greener this year, thanks to help from the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Center’s Environmental Management Assistance Program (EMAP) and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The DEP recently announced the first wave of 2008 winners of its popular Small Business Advantage Grant (SBAG) program, which offers small businesses up to $7,500 on a 50 percent cost-share basis to implement projects to increase energy efficiency and decrease pollution. Of the $553,000 awarded to 94 businesses in this round of distribution, EMAP consultants helped 54 obtain just over $300,000 for projects as diverse as heating and cooling system upgrades, energy efficient lighting installations, high efficiency machinery and geothermal heating and cooling systems to conserve energy. “In tough economic times, the best way for a business owner to make money is often by saving money” Christopher Lynch, Director of the SBDC Environmental Management Assistance Program said.  “At a time when rising energy costs have everyone looking for opportunities to squeeze the waste out of their energy bills, the Advantage Grant program helps small companies invest in efficiency projects for which they might otherwise lack the up-front capital.” “Small businesses across the state are bracing for high heating costs this winter as they try to cope with the current international financial crisis,” Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell said. “Companies that invest in equipment to reduce their energy costs or cut waste will be better positioned to compete and succeed in this difficult environment. The Small Business Advantage grants help businesses adopt innovative technologies and processes that will improve their bottom line and protect our environment.” The funding is available on a first-come, first-served basis and closes more quickly each year due to increased popularity. EMAP consultants work with their clients to identify viable projects and submit applications quickly, and in each year since the grant program began, have helped increasing numbers of clients obtain funding. This year, client awardees ranged from restaurants to retail stores, laundromats, grocery stores, auto shops and hardware stores. The full amount of the SBAG awards will total $1M, with the remaining grant awards to be announced over the next few months. More about SBAG Small Business Advantage is a grant program providing 50% matching grants, up to a maximum of $7,500.00, to enable a Pennsylvania small business to adopt or acquire energy efficient or pollution prevention equipment or processes. U.S. Department of Environmental Protection Small Business Advantage Grant (SBAG) 2008 SBAG Winners

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Jeremy Hancher is the EMAP Program Manager located at the Widener University SBDC.  He holds over 15 years of experience in environmental compliance, environmental policy, and program management.  He is proud to be the team lead of the award-winning EMAP program which provides free and confidential environmental assistance to the Pennsylvania small business community in fulfillment of the requirements of the Pennsylvania Air Pollution Control Act and Section 507 of the federal Clean Air Act.
In 2015, Jeremy was part of the team effort when EMAP was recognized by US EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy for Outstanding Accomplishments by a State Small Business Environmental Assistance Provider in Providing Technical Environmental Assistance to the Small Business Community. Jeremy holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh, a Master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania, and a certificate from the Wharton School.
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