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Water Tank and Wireless Broadband

03/25/2012 9:45 PM

I'm trying to convince a local water authorities to let a wireless broadband company use the water tank as antennae to service a rural area .Some on the water board members has been informed that the antennae will attract lighting.The antennae will not be taller than the dome of the tank and it will be grounded as well.Can anyone provide me with information to support me the it will not attract lighting.

Thanks

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#1

Re: Water Tank and Wireless Broadband

03/25/2012 10:06 PM

I promise, honest. Trust me.

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#2

Re: Water Tank and Wireless Broadband

03/25/2012 10:16 PM

Where are you?

Give us some background.

Is anyone on the authority technically competent?

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#3
In reply to #2

Re: Water Tank and Wireless Broadband

03/25/2012 10:26 PM

We located in north east Alabama

The water tank is located on top of Chandler Mountain the second highest peek in the state.The tank has been struck a few time already in the past.I told them today I been in electronic business for over 25 years it does not matter how well you prepare to prevent a lighting strike if it decides to hit it its going to hit it.

And no one on the water authority is competent :P that's why it's got to be in black and white.I need good info before 4-1-12 Sunday at 2 pm.

Thank you

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#4
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Re: Water Tank and Wireless Broadband

03/25/2012 10:53 PM

OK,

Can the wireless company help you with this?

They must have some "experts" that can present credible evidence here.

I'm not a civil engineer, but we've got some smart guys who are.

I feel your pain. We've got a small place in S. Minn. and we have to go upstairs and stand in a certain place to use the cell phone.

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#5
In reply to #4

Re: Water Tank and Wireless Broadband

03/25/2012 11:00 PM

The wireless company is very small like one person being the owner I'm trying to do some leg work for him.I have worked in the electronic field for 25 years the water board will come nearer listening to me that anyone.I just need the facts to back me up.

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#6
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Re: Water Tank and Wireless Broadband

03/25/2012 11:36 PM

You'll have to deal with the legal side of this, too. "Hold harmless" agreements and indemnification against damage to the mother structure will be required.

No telling what else.

You may want to practice the ordeal by hitting yourself in the head with a hammer, repeatedly.

Welcome to CR4 by the way.

Sundays are slow. Check tomorrow if nobody comes on tonight.

Good luck.

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#7
In reply to #6

Re: Water Tank and Wireless Broadband

03/25/2012 11:48 PM

I have been hitting myself in the head from the start .The company carries liability insurance.The State call connecting Alabama has been working with me on this but very little and I'm sure when the project is finish I will have all the Elected Officials trying to take Credit but I don't care I just want good fast broadband.

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#11
In reply to #3

Re: Water Tank and Wireless Broadband

03/26/2012 11:53 AM

This puts an interesting twist to your situation. This water tank has already been blasted by lightning strikes due to the elevation. Did these lightning strikes at all damage the tank and/or pumping equipment? If it did not damage them then why do they care if an antenna attracts more or less lightning. If it did damage the tank then having the cell phone provider installing a lightning diverting system of an arrestor and rod to protect their equipment will make the tank less likely to be struck and damaged again. This seems like a win/win scenario.

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#12
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Re: Water Tank and Wireless Broadband

03/26/2012 12:04 PM

Very good answer.

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#8

Re: Water Tank and Wireless Broadband

03/26/2012 2:17 AM

I did this on Long Island 30 yrs ago. The only company I recall is Jamaica Water Authority located in Nassau County NY. There were several others, Great Neck and Manhasset also had some, and they were municipalities. I did it for the Nassau Fire Commission. NCPD also used several tanks for their equipment. As for lightning, didn't happen on my watch, power lines got hit a couple of times.

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#9

Re: Water Tank and Wireless Broadband

03/26/2012 11:06 AM

This may help. It's an entire write up..................including water tank mounting of antennas.

http://www.co.fluvanna.va.us/planning/Long%20Range%20Projects/Telecommunications/Final_Fluvanna_County_MP_9_21_11.pdf

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#10
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Re: Water Tank and Wireless Broadband

03/26/2012 11:33 AM

I'm hoping Moosie will come along. He'll have some good advice. Maybe I'll jump over and knock on his office door.

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#13

Re: Water Tank and Wireless Broadband

03/26/2012 10:48 PM

Contact the EE department at either U of A, Huntsville or Auburn University. They should be able to help. You might want to talk to the engineering staff at Alabama Public TV and at the Huntsville TV stations that have antennas up on Monte Sano mountain.

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#14

Re: Water Tank and Wireless Broadband

03/26/2012 11:11 PM

I don't ever recall lightening being a problem with elevated steel storage tanks. If the water piping is also steel the tank will be well grounded and not an issue for the tank. If you are adding antennae to the tank then some assurance of grounding between the equipment and the tank/pipe system will also protect the antennae. If the level controls are not tied into the system then they could be damaged by lightening. They should be tied in.

If the tank is a composite tank (like the area I lived), I suspect that the installers will have installed the necessary grounding and lightening protection as part of the construction specifications. Then the antennae will be required to complement the ground with appropriate metal/copper and base lightening arrestor. The tank should always be protected anyway. The community is missing out on some rental revenue and the area misses some broadband improvement.

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#17
In reply to #14

Re: Water Tank and Wireless Broadband

03/27/2012 2:07 AM

Have had such a problem in the wind energy field with European and Chinese engineers misspelling Lightning, - lightning is that flash of light, accompanied later by Thunder, that can eg hit a water tank and as you correctly say be grounded by the water pipes etc, - lightening is when your old dinghy is finally leaking too fast to bail and you chuck out the fat old whinger who refuses to bail or row, thus Lightening the load, both physically and emotionally. Cheers, Geoff.

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#24
In reply to #17

Re: Water Tank and Wireless Broadband

03/27/2012 10:06 AM

Thanks for the correction. It is one of the words that I keep spelling wrong.

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#15

Re: Water Tank and Wireless Broadband

03/26/2012 11:14 PM

modman, would you be anywhere near Fort Payne Alabama. I have family there and I know the mentality of a lot of the local politics. Your idea will surely become theirs in the end. Check with your local code enforcement for electrical on this type of installation you will find that they will try to help you get this passed because they will then be able to set the minimum requirements for the county's benefit and the residents as well. But I do know the tough road ahead for you, and I wish you the best in your endeavor. Duke

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#16

Re: Water Tank and Wireless Broadband

03/27/2012 1:09 AM

Thank you all for replying to my questions I have contacted Lightning Safety http://www.lightningsafety.com/nlsi_lhm/lpts.html maybe they can give me the data.

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#18

Re: Water Tank and Wireless Broadband

03/27/2012 7:52 AM

If the tank is on top of a mountain, why would the antennae have to be mounted on the tank? Could it not be mounted on a shorter stand, separate from the tank?

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#19

Re: Water Tank and Wireless Broadband

03/27/2012 8:23 AM

You need to check with the wireless company, they will need a place for their box of tricks, as well as a clear field fro their antenn. These things are often on the top of tall buildings, so lightning is not an issue. Access, a suitable power supply and good reception are potential problems

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#20

Re: Water Tank and Wireless Broadband

03/27/2012 8:25 AM

You have had a lot of good suggestions already...can I add: Have you contacted some local architects or civil engineers? They should be able to help, if only to point you in the right direction.

Correctly installed and maintained ligthning protection should provide a safer environment for your water tank, as other s have described.

Good luck!

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#21

Re: Water Tank and Wireless Broadband

03/27/2012 9:41 AM

First, I'd like to thank Lyn for coming over and knocking on my office door.

I'd like to ask our guest what type of water tank in located atop the mountaintop. Is it an elevated steel storage tank (with support legs or central support pillar), or a steel reservoir type tank (diameter greater than height, mounted atop the concrete foundation), or a prestressed concrete reservoir tank.

Approximate overall height above the ground? Is it taller than the adjacent trees and/or rock outcroppings?

Is this a municipally-owned tank or a private water company or water authority?

Are there any other antennas mounted atop or to the side of the tank? These could be municipal radio antennas (DPW, Police, Fire, Emergency services etc.), water dept. supervisory & control antennas, cellular antennas, and telephone microwave transmission antennas. I could go on about the type, but you get the picture, right?

Okay, in my opinion the issue of lightning strikes on a steel water storage tank is a non-issue, where the steel (if it is this type) tank is already acting as a huge lightning rod because its steel structural supports are attached directly to the concrete foundation. Same with any water supply/withdrawal riser pipe servicing the tank to fill it and empty it.

Any antennas attached to a steel water tank, IMO, are not going to increase direct lightning strikes. The hazard is already there. Any antennas that are attached to the tank will be properly grounded to protect the antennas and the ground-mounted electronics (in an enclosure). This is a must, as the company that owns the equipment has invested a lot of money purchasing and then installing it. Also, that same company does not want to lose revenue due to downtime.

I've been a Civil Engineer for nearly 35 years (since 1977) and have been involved with the design, specifying, construction oversight, and commissioning of over 4 dozen elevated tanks and reservoir tank over my career, both steel tanks and prestressed or postensioned tanks (like Natgun and Preload for example).

Furthermore, I was a City Engineer for a small upstate New York city. During my tenure we constructed two brand new elevated steel water storage tanks (one was 175 ft, high on atop a hillside w/ 1.5 MG capacity, the other was 225 ft. high atop another hillside w/2.0 MG), and a single 4.0 MG Natgun water storage reservoir tank roughly 150 ft. diameter x 30.33 ft. high at the overflow weir). I can attest that we had repeated lightning strikes on all 3 new tanks and the 2 existing water storage tanks, all resulting in no ill effect to the tanks themselves. The only casualty was a pressure transducer (used to measure water levels in the tank and transmit the data to our 30 MGD Water filtration plant) failure that was located in an underground valve pit, which incidentally was properly grounded in accordance with NEC Standard.

When I served with the USACE I was involved in the no less than 2 dozen elevated water storage projects over a 10 year period that were installed at US Army bases worldwide....all were replacement tanks. And yes, all had been repeatedly struck by lightning with no ill effects.

Usually it is the case here in this state to mount all sorts of antennas atop water storage tanks. Many are "co-located" antennas. Usually the municipality will rent or lease the location.

Additionally, I once sat on the Montgomery County NY Planning Board, where we dealt with cellular telephone antenna issues all of the time. If the proposed tower site was within 500 feet of a county or state highway we had jurisdictional review authority. In many many cases before us we dictated that the applicant co-located with other cellular telephone providers on the same tower, building or water storage tank, so as to minimize the visual/environmental impacts. the applicants in most cases welcomed such verdicts as it saved them a huge amount of principal not having to develop an independent tower site. Also, the municipalities or building owners had a win-win situation where they collected monthly rent or lease dollars + a percentage of the actual usage royalties based on the telephone traffic generated by the antenna presence.

Currently I sit on our Village Planning Board and this issue has come up twice in the past year. The Village was agreeable to leasing a spots for cellular antenna arrays + ground-based equipment footpads. the collected money helps defray the operational costs of the village-owned water system and keeps down the water rates. Additionally, all village emergency services and DPW antennas + Dutchess County Sheriff's Dept. antennas are co-located there as well as a wireless Internet broadband antenna. I know for a fact that this water storage tank (roughly 150 feet AGL) has been repeatedly struck by lightning many times since I've lived in this community (going on 12 years +).

I would recommend to you friend that he hire a Registered Professional Engineer (electrical) specializing in the installation of antennas on water storage tanks. Also, that he/she hire a very good attorney specializing in construction/engineering and cellular tower (etc). litigation. It's going to be an uphill battle with the locally elected "Good 'Ole Boys" currently sitting on that municipal board.

He/she may also want to appeal to the FCC, the Federal Trade Commission, your state Dept. of State office as well as your state's Attorney General's Office if all fails. Lastly, there's always the court system to fall back on if all else fails.

In my professional opinion, the denial of a water storage tank mounted antenna on the grounds that it will attract lightning, and hence result in damage to the tank, is not based on sound engineering; it is in fact a non-issue, and based on political issues only.

Good luck!

===signed,

CaptMoosie, PhD, P.E.

Civil, Structural & Environmental Engineer

(former Capt. US Army Corps of Engineers)

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#25
In reply to #21

Re: Water Tank and Wireless Broadband

03/27/2012 11:17 AM

Couldn't resist.....

but you get the picture, right?

Only if there's a TV aerial up there.

I'll get my coat....

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#26
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Re: Water Tank and Wireless Broadband

03/27/2012 11:24 AM

Before I go....

one was 175 ft, high on atop a hillside w/ 1.5 MG capacity

That's a lot of water for one lonely goatherd...

[Sorry Moosie, your post is worth a GA...I'm jus' funnin']

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#27
In reply to #26

Re: Water Tank and Wireless Broadband

03/27/2012 11:27 AM

Rosey, actually it served a herd of Moose.....

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#33
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Re: Water Tank and Wireless Broadband

03/28/2012 6:30 AM
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#28
In reply to #21

Re: Water Tank and Wireless Broadband

03/27/2012 11:33 AM

Hi Moosie

The tank is a water authority owned tank.

It is the highest point in the area.Just guessing I would say 175 feet and it has 4 support legs with a 36 or 48 inch pipe in the center to the ground.

No antennas are attached to the tank that I can see it does have a couple of small antennas at the base for telemetry of the water system.

We are trying to get this done with less money spent the better and not using any grants.

The board members the good ole boys are not giving me hard time its the secretary that is blending the ears of the members.

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#29
In reply to #28

Re: Water Tank and Wireless Broadband

03/27/2012 6:57 PM

I would suggest mounting your antennas as high as possible on the legs around the periphery of the tank, then for lightning strike likelihood I would refer you to:

<http://www.lightningsafety.com/nlsi_lhm/prbshort.html>

and search further on 'Lightning strike likelihood"

Personally I do not expect mounting the antennas to have any effect on lightning strike likelihood, but as you say you need to prove it ..... perhaps commissioning a study/report by the NLSI would be the way to go - go to a nationally recognised authority.

Further to the document above they may have published guidelines which may suffice.

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#22

Re: Water Tank and Wireless Broadband

03/27/2012 9:56 AM

Here's some water storage tanks from my photo archives. I'll try to locate ones that have antennas mounted atop them.

Anyhow, you cannot see the antennas mounted atop the elevated tank, but be rest assured they are there!

Town of Rotterdam NY elevated water storage tank.

4.0 MG Water Storage Reservoir under construction by Natgun, City of Amsterdam NY.

Enjoy!

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#23

Re: Water Tank and Wireless Broadband

03/27/2012 9:57 AM

The other aspect of a convincing argument would be to present the cash flow. In my experience, the companies who would use a tank for mounting an antennae also pay to do so, giving the tank owner a great source of revenue by leasing the available space.

I would place typical values anywhere from $200/month for small and remote systems up to $3000/month in densely populated metropolitans. You said this tank is in a rural area so I would expect the lease value to be toward the lower end, but again, this is essentially a free source of revenue for the water utility.

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#30

Re: Water Tank and Wireless Broadband

03/27/2012 7:37 PM

Here is a email just received

Your antennas have no effect whatsoever on lightning

strike probabilities to the tank.

Richard Kithil, Founder & CEO

National Lightning Safety Institute (NLSI)

Contact: 303.666.8817

www.lightningsafety.com

Expert Consultancy Since 1993

From: Scott Mattison [

Sent: Monday, March 26, 2012 7:51 PM

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Subject: Lightning protection of water tank

I am trying to get a local water authority to let a wireless broadband provider use its water tank as a access point.But the some of the water board members has been told that the antennae will attract lightning to their own equipment .The antennas will lower than the highest point of the tank and the antenna's will have proper grounding and lightning arrestor installed.Do you have any data or publication to reassurance the board member that this will not happen.

Thank You

Scott W. Mattison

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#31
In reply to #30

Re: Water Tank and Wireless Broadband

03/27/2012 7:51 PM

Can it be?????

Will logic prevail???

Good luck!

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#32

Re: Water Tank and Wireless Broadband

03/27/2012 8:19 PM

I believe the last email I got with the input from the forum I think this is a closed case.

I glad I found this site I will be here regular !!

Thanks Guys I found a new home I hope I can be helpful.

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#34
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Re: Water Tank and Wireless Broadband

03/28/2012 7:09 AM

Welcome!!!

Good question - and you're a model OP

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#35

Re: Water Tank and Wireless Broadband

04/07/2012 10:49 PM

".Some on the water board members has been informed that the antennae will attract lighting."

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA hilarious, the utter lack of technical knowledge.

A DINKY metal mass on a WATER TOWER?

Again:

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAHHAHHAHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

HA/

such antennae are directional, thus they dont need to be on top of the tower.

Is the tower being hit now?

what possible difference could it make?

All questions they clearly are too uneducated to ask, understand or answer, or understand the answers.

"and it will be grounded as well"

They arent the only ones who have no idea what they are doing....

Grounded for WHAT?

Physics moment.

Lightening does not come "down" as these poor souls believe, it is a phenomenon that originates from "up" and "down" at the same time.

It comes from the clouds, it comes up from the ground. It meets in the middle (middle might not exactly be half way between "up" and "down")

Why encourage lightening strikes on the antenna by grounding it?

Why put them on TOP of the tank when they are microwave (1.5-5 GHz), line of sight, and all the targets are on the ground? Why make the path losses worse by putting more distance between antennae? why expose installers to much greater risk climbing the tank?

Why not put them as close to the ground as possible, with LOS to the furthest Customer, but not below tree line?

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#36

Re: Water Tank and Wireless Broadband

04/08/2012 10:20 AM

I discussed this with a one of the people I worked with back in the day.

We used to drill and tap holes in the tank to mount a bracket to hold the antennas and warning lights. The new technology uses magnets, no drilling required.

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#37

Re: Water Tank and Wireless Broadband

05/08/2012 5:56 AM

Hi Tom

Contact www.lightningsafety.com they can help you.

Thanks

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