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Metaltech Success Story: Two for One Permitting Assistance

Tony Zaffuto founded Metaltech in 1989 to make parts for the automotive industry. The small business out of DuBois, PA, takes powdered metal and through the magic of manufacturing, turn it into high quality gears, spacers, structural parts, and more. Recently, Metaltech, Inc. became involved with a start-up battery company for the renewable energy sector, jointly developing several components for prototype testing. To produce the components, Metaltech, Inc. needed to purchase and install a new oven.

Being an experienced small business owner, with a long-standing air permit, Tony knew he needed approval from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) before purchasing and installing a new oven. Working with his local DEP office, he was provided an explanation of what forms DEP needed to approve for installation of the new oven. Unfortunately, the terminology and abbreviations used within the forms were confusing and Tony knew he needed additional help.

Seeking Air Quality Assistance

Metaltech is a small company with 38 employees and none of them are full-time environmental professionals. The length of the required application was intimidating, and Tony did not want to answer the questions incorrectly. The DEP staff recommended he reach out to the Small Business Development Center’s Environmental Management Assistance Program (EMAP) for free and confidential air quality assistance.

Charles (Chuck) Haney, an EMAP consultant out of the Shippensburg University SBDC, began working with Metaltech was able to phrase the application questions in a way that made sense to someone outside the environmental field. Tony knows his business inside and out and as soon as Tony understood what was being asked, the answers came immediately. In no time the application was submitted and Metaltech received the DEP’s permission to install a new oven.

Air Quality Permit Renewal

Metaltech’s environmental needs didn’t end there. While they were asking for permission to install the new oven, their air permit became due for renewal. Tony and Chuck from EMAP were able to immediately start on the renewal application. Once again, Tony had all the information and was able to provide the information needed with some guidance from EMAP. The renewal was submitted to the DEP and is pending approval.

The information needed to get the DEP’s approval for the new oven and air permit renewal was at Tony’s fingertips. However, he admits that he “would have struggled with the application. There was a half-dozen or so points we would have missed.” A guiding hand from the Chuck and EMAP helped everything go very smoothly.

Comfy Cozy Cows: D&S Shavings Success Story

D&S Shavings, a Pennsylvania-based animal bedding company, faced environmental challenges related to air quality emissions. With assistance from EMAP and the SBDC, owner Dave Hicks successfully obtained the necessary permits and approvals for expanding his operations, ensuring compliance and sustainability for the business.

Animal Bedding Solutions

Established in 2006 and located in Mifflintown, PA, Juniata County, D&S Shavings produces quality animal bedding solutions for horses, livestock, and outdoor pets. Owner and operator, Dave Hicks, was referred to the Environmental Management Assistance Program (EMAP) and the Bucknell University Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in 2016 by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) due to air quality emissions as a result of the small business operation.

Expansion Plans

Dave was looking to install a second log shaving and dryer process line to his already existing process line. Based on equipment size, it was determined that D&S Shavings needed to submit a Plan Approval application for the existing and new process line, as well as an environmental air quality application for a State Only Operating Permit (SOOP), once the equipment was fully operational. Thus, EMAP conducted an onsite assessment and assisted Dave with the preparation, completion, and submission of the Plan Approval which also included emission calculations and a review into Best Available Technology (BAT).

Permission Granted

The Plan Approval was submitted to DEP in March 2016 and approved in July 2016. The Plan Approval allowed a 180-day shakedown period. Since D&S Shavings needed more time to get the new process line installed and operational, EMAP assisted with preparing a Plan Approval extension application. Once both process lines were fully operational, EMAP assisted Dave with preparing and submitting a natural minor State Only Operating Permit application package to DEP in August 2017. Dave received the final SOOP on October 24, 2017. The permit was issued for a five (5) year period expiring October 31, 2022. In 2022, EMAP assisted in preparing the operating permit renewal application. The renewal was submitted to DEP March 16, 2022. The new SOOP was issued to D & S Shavings on September 19, 2022 for another five-year period.

Reflecting Back

“I certainly could not have done the permit applications without EMAP’s assistance. I am eternally grateful to both Lee Ann and Carrie of EMAP. You have been professional, timely, and very knowledgeable!” – Dave Hicks, D&S Shavings

Success Story: Aspen Hill Pet Cemetery and Crematory

Aspen Hill Pet Cemetery and Crematory in Hermitage, PA, was founded in 2017 to provide affordable pet cremation and burial services. Kacy Garlock, the owner, sought assistance from the Duquesne University Small Business Development Center (SBDC) in 2016 to start her business.

Kacy recognized the need for affordable pet cremation services in her community, especially for elderly individuals facing financial hardships. After witnessing clients struggle to pay cremation bills, she decided to establish Aspen Hill Pet Cemetery and Crematory in 2017.

In May 2020, Kacy was referred to the Environmental Management Assistance Program (EMAP) by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to install a small incinerator for pet cremation. DEP advised her to submit a Request for Determination (RFD) application to determine if an operating permit would be required. EMAP assisted Kacy with preparing the RFD and emission calculations.

DEP determined that a Plan Approval Application and a minor source State Only Operating Permit were necessary to operate the incinerator. EMAP helped Kacy prepare and submit the Plan Approval and Operating permit applications, along with other required documents.

The Plan Approval application was submitted to DEP in August 2020 and approved in January 2021. Kacy and EMAP then submitted the minor source State Only Operating Permit application package to DEP. Aspen Hill was allowed to operate under the DEP’s “permit-shield” provision until the final Operating Permit was issued. Kacy received her final Operating Permit on February 23, 2022, valid for five years.

Kacy expressed her gratitude for EMAP’s assistance stating “EMAP and Lee Ann were invaluable when it came time for me to navigate the minefield of paperwork, regulations, documentations, and leg work of acquiring a permit. Unfortunately, there is no “how to” manual for owning and running a small business, but with amazing resources like EMAP and the SBDC there is light at the end of the tunnel.”

 

GPS Metals Selected for 2023 Small Business Environmental Stewardship Award

GPS Metals, a small wholesale processor and broker of non-ferrous scrap metals from McKeesport, Pennsylvania, received the 2023 Small Business Environmental Stewardship Award.  This award showcases the accomplishments of a small business in the areas of improving environmental performance, pollution prevention, sustainability, and mentoring.

“With EMAP’s help we were able to preserve 7 full-time, good paying jobs with benefits, and continue to contribute to the community by recycling metal products in a responsible manner.”

GPS Metals worked with EMAP to obtain the necessary air quality permits from the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD), eliminate fugitive emissions from their wire chopping operation, then made modifications to eliminate and prevent stormwater runoff, and improved indoor air quality for their employees.  In addition, GPS Metals reclaims over 2,400 tons of metallic material annually which diverts this waste from going to a landfill.

Keith Schultz of GPS Metals had this to say about the award:

“Lee Ann Briggs from the University of Pittsburgh, SBDC, made an overwhelmingly complicated process reasonably simple to complete with her help.  She helped us navigate the permitting process with the ACHD, and made recommended best practices to be in, and maintain compliance with, DEP and ACHD regulations.  She made multiple site visits to monitor our progress and amend applications as necessary.  Without her help we would have had to expend much more time and effort to understand and navigate the process as we upgraded our dust control systems.  Invaluable asset to the process.  The fact that she nominated us for an award for our shared efforts was just a bonus validation for the steps we took.”

GPS Metals with their 2023 SBEAP Award. Pictured are Tim Nickerson (left), Keith Schultz (middle), and Kyle Schultz (right).

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    

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.”  

Gate 7 selected for National Small Business Environmental Stewardship Award

The National Small Business Environmental Assistance Programs (SBEAP) have recognized Gate 7 LLC as a 2020 recipient of the Small Business Environmental Stewardship Award.

As a small manufacturer of custom-made labels and decals based out of Greencastle, Pennsylvania, Gate 7 LLC, was honored with the award for proper management of their environmental responsibilities and the company’s unwavering commitment to finding greener alternatives to help reduce their carbon footprint and reduce industrial waste.

Nominated by the Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers’ (SBDC) Environmental Management Assistance Program (EMAP), Gate 7 has become an inspiration to its customers, stakeholders and local community in Franklin County. “We are honored to be selected for this award as we are consistently aware of how our product and processes have an effect on the environment” said Clare Reay, Vice President of Gate 7 LLC.

The SBEAP’s National Steering Committee Awards are the country’s premier environmental awards for recognizing outstanding environmental performance, programs and individuals. The awards honor and recognize small businesses, individuals, trade associations and others who have made significant contributions to protecting the environment.

“EMAP is extremely happy and delighted to hear that Gate 7 has been recognized nationally by the small business community for being good environmental stewards and for being proactive in their pursuit of making a lasting impact for their customers, employees, and local community” said Jeremy Hancher, EMAP Program Manager.  “Small manufacturers such as Gate 7 continue to face difficult challenges in today’s economic climate.  EMAP and the Pennsylvania SBDCs are proud to assist small businesses such as Gate 7 to help them remain committed to the well-being of their operation’s family culture and to their own environmental footprint.”

Among their many environmental accomplishments, Gate 7 obtained their ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems certification, built and designed a new facility utilizing energy efficient motion sensors & LED lighting, and installed solar panels with enough generation to offset up to 98% of their electricity needs.

“Gate 7 would like to thank the National SBEAPs for this award and its continued commitment in assisting small businesses achieve and sustain environmental objectives,” added Ms. Reay.

More information about the National Small Business Environmental Assistance Programs is available at https://nationalsbeap.org/.
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.