Xerxes Corp. is closing two facilities that make underground storage tanks by mid-April, a move attributed to sagging demand in one city and the company's inability to reduce nuisance odors in another.
Company officials declined to comment on the closings of locations in Avon, Ohio, and Lakeland, Fla.
Avon city officials confirmed the company will close its 77,000-square-foot facility there by April 16. By April 6, the company also will begin closing the Lakeland location, according to a written statement it sent to the Lakeland Ledger newspaper.
The closings will affect 102 employees at both plants.
The Avon facility has been in operation since the 1950s. Xerxes is ceding after a three-year battle over nuisance odors, Avon Mayor James A. Smith said in a March 21 telephone interview.
"There have been some complaints on smell around the plant," Smith said. "This city was in negotiations with them to relieve some of it, but they chose to close the plant."
Smith said the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency ruled that the odors were not a health hazard. In 1995, the city granted Xerxes a variance to erect taller emission stacks. But the city did not want the plant to expand any further, Smith said.
According to Smith, Xerxes did intend to expand the facility in 1998. With the construction of an upscale housing development adjacent to Xerxes' property, the city offered to move the company to another location within Avon.
"We have a huge industrial area that has no residential," Smith said. "For them, it didn't ever seem to be on the table."
According to a Xerxes' statement faxed from its Lakeland facility, that location "is closing due to significant downturn in the marketplace for Xerxes products."
The facility employs 36 and has been in that location since 1988.
One reason for market downturn may be a slowdown in the previously booming business for replacing underground tanks.
The U.S. EPA mandated compliance for leaking tanks in the 1980s. According to the information from the EPA's Web site, an estimated 85 percent of all tanks are in compliance with the spill, overfill and corrosion protection requirements. About 100,000 remain.
In its written statement, however, company officials said that fiberglass underground tanks are growing in market share and often replace leaking steel tanks.
In a 1995 Plastics News article, Xerxes called itself a "clear leader" in the industry after Owens Corning sold a five-plant tank division to a group of six investors.
Xerxes also manufactures oil and water separators and leak-detection products. The company has locations in Tipton, Iowa; Hagerstown, Md.; West Memphis, Ark.; Seguin, Texas; and Anaheim, Calif.