Skip to main content
Environmental Management Assistance Program

Success Story: Aspen Hill Pet Cemetery and Crematory

Written on . Posted in , .
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.”


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.