The Department of Environmental Protection announced emergency funding that will help flood-affected small businesses in 33 counties, including Schuylkill, Northampton, Lehigh and Monroe counties, to make energy efficiency and pollution prevention improvements.

Projects eligible for 50 percent reimbursement grants of up to $9,500 could include high-efficiency lighting systems, building insulation, air sealing, recycling and reuse systems, and new water-conservation technologies.

"These grants can help small-business owners create something positive, moving forward, out of what had been a disaster," DEP Secretary Mike Krancer said. "I'm calling this our 'Phoenix Program' because from the destruction of the flood, there will be a rising of new life for an even better future with new energy efficiency and pollution prevention. I am delighted DEP can help in this way."

Grants are available to for-profit small-business owners whose facilities are in counties that were declared eligible for disaster relief by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). All types of small businesses qualify for funding, including manufacturers, retailers, service providers, mining businesses and agricultural outfits. About $400,000 total is available and comes from the state's Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act.

Costs incurred between Aug. 26 and Dec. 31, are eligible for grant consideration. The grant application package contains the materials and instructions necessary for applying. Applications must be postmarked or hand-delivered by 4 p.m. on Dec. 31. Faxes or other electronic submissions will not be accepted.

Small-business owners who want to review the program's eligibility requirements can contact the Office of the Small Business Ombudsman at (717) 772-8909. Copies of the application are also available at the Ombudsman's Office in the Rachel Carson State Office Building, 400 Market St., Harrisburg. Applications are also available on DEP's website at www.dep.state.pa.us [1].

To ask a specific question concerning a project, potential applicants should call the number listed above or email epadvantagegrant@pa.gov [2] before submitting an application.