July 2018

In any event, there are some terms that need to be

sure are covered in any lease:


Compatibility of antennas: Ensure that the
antennas to be installed are of a type
compatible with the water system antennas
used for telemetry or otherwise.


Attachment of antennas: The water system
should confirm how antennas, cables and the
power supply will be physically located on the
tank. Many leases will prohibit certain practices
such as welding on or otherwise penetrating the
tank. Ensure that whatever attachment methods
are employed will not damage the tank coating
or cause safety, structural or sanitary problems.


Notice; Access: The lease should specify how the
lessee is to obtain access, provide for notice to
the water system of intended access, and for the
right of the water system to have personnel
present when the lessee or its contactors are on


Tank Maintenance: The lease should make

provision for the lessee to accommodate tank
maintenance by timely removing or relocating
the lessee’s equipment as necessary to
accommodate maintenance and repair, such
accommodation to be at the lessee’s expense.


Insurance; Taxes: Require the lessee to insure its
own equipment and provide proof of adequate
liability insurance. Water systems should
carefully review this with legal counsel and the
water system’s insurer to be certain that there is
adequate, seamless coverage. Require the lessee
to pay any property taxes that may be assessed
against the leased property as a result of the
antenna installation.

These are but a few of the critical items to be

covered by a good antenna lease. Thorough
consideration of items like these involves a team
effort, including management, business, legal and
technical consultants.

2. SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS: Special attention
needs to be paid to restrictions that may exist on the
land where the tank is located to be sure that the
proposed antennas are authorized. If on land subject
to an easement, does the easement allow for the

installation of antennas for commercial use? Kansas
easement law provides that the scope of the
easement – that is the uses that are permitted by the
easement – are limited to the clear meaning of the
language of the easement and the intent of the
parties at the time the easement was granted. Many
water tank site easements are silent on the subject of
antennas. Does the easement simply authorize
construction and use of a water tank or standpipe
and waterlines? Or does it authorize use of the land
for water district purposes? The water system’s
attorney should be consulted for advice. Installation
of antennas on a tank without authority for such use
could result in a claim by the landowner for trespass,
including a claim for monetary damages and/or
removal of the antenna. These are bad results for a
water system simply trying to add some needed
revenue to the system, to accommodate local law
enforcement or facilitate availability of wireless
internet to the area.

These same considerations apply if the water tank

is on leased land. They can apply even to an owned
tank site if there are conditions attached to the land
by the deed to the site or the tank construction was

This elevated water tank along I-29 north of Kansas City

serves as the base for numerous antennas owned by

Verizon Wireless.