According to the World Resources Institute Aqueduct Water Risk Assessment of oil and gas, CNX operations currently have an overall low to medium water risk. In the Appalachian Basin, water is an abundant resource, but not one that CNX takes for granted. While CNX does not operate in any high baseline water stress areas, fluctuations can occur and it is important that we understand our responsibility to manage water in an efficient and compliant manner for the betterment of the environment, and all stakeholders. CNX optimizes operations and diversifies our freshwater sources to minimize the potential impact on water resources. 

Water Management Process

Large volumes of water are injected as the primary medium during hydraulic fracturing. The industry has traditionally used freshwater for these activities, which created both a sourcing and water resource allocation challenge. Produced water is a by-product of gas operations, wherein water injected during hydraulic fracturing returns to the surface during natural gas production. Historically, disposal of this produced water has been a challenge for the industry. Thanks to significant capital investments in storage and water pipeline infrastructure along with a thorough review of the science and engineering of hydraulic fracturing, CNX is leading the industry toward a solution for reuse of produced water.

Recycling water requires centralized storage in each of our operating regions, where CNX prioritizes environmentally and economically sound storage solutions.

  1. 2008: During the early stages of shale gas development, the industry utilized on-pad storage pits and temporary frac tanks.
  2. 2010: CNX advanced to centralized impoundment storage and temporary aboveground storage tanks (ASTs) in the next phase of water storage evolution, while continuing to seek more permanent and sustainable solutions.
  3. 2018: CNX embarked on the innovative installation of American Water Works Association (AWWA) bolted steel tanks paired with permanent electric pumps. 
  4. 2023: Building upon this progress, we have installed our first American Petroleum Institute (API) welded steel tanks with permanent electric pumps, underscoring our commitment to continuous improvement. Welded tanks provide a seamless fluid retention AST. API 650 dictates tank design, fabrication, welding, inspection, and erection requirements and is widely used for storing products such as crude oil, gasoline, chemicals, and produced water.

CNX continues to invest in water pipeline infrastructure, with a significant network of approximately 1,400 miles. Transporting water through pipelines reduces the risks and emissions associated with transportation by truck, and minimizes impacts on Appalachian communities and the environment. CNX’s Water Team oversees our water needs, infrastructure, logistics, third-party business, and supports effective decision-making and management of this resource—one that is central to CNX’s business and processes. Our waterline system is capable of serving other nearby operators, creating additional benefit for CNX.


We embrace our Responsibility, take Ownership, and strive for Excellence as we seek to maximize the value of water— a critical resource. CNX has evaluated and heat mapped its existing water infrastructure based on proximity to aquatic and community resources, as well as original construction dates and associated construction and testing standards at that time. Flow rate, testing frequency, monitoring, and alarm sensitivity settings are adjusted according to the risk profile for the specific line. Waterlines are tested on a rolling basis. By evaluating our infrastructure, we can target and prioritize needed maintenance and upgrades to the system. In 2023, CNX spent over $19 million to improve our water infrastructure.

CNX has upgraded 53% of our large rental diesel-powered pumps to permanent electric powered pumps at major storage locations and water sources. Upgrading pumps has contributed to reductions in emissions, cost, and noise, while improving versatility, reliability, durability, efficiency, and enhancing remote monitoring capabilities.


Active waterlines are walked by competent inspectors to search for leaks and inspect visible equipment. The CNX Water Control Desk was established in the RTOC for remote monitoring of CNX’s waterline network via instrumentation and controls deployed throughout our infrastructure. CNX’s alarm authority matrix and control philosophy establish limitations for pressure and flow, with continuous monitoring for additional protection. Automation enables us to collect data and identify trends. CNX’s control desk, operated 24/7, can remotely manipulate the water system and shut down waterlines in anomaly flow conditions.

All buried water trunklines installed in 2023 or later are co-located with a fiber-optic line, which can detect line leaks, movement, and digging on or in the area using acoustic and temperature-sensing techniques. The sensors transmit data to a model which interprets the specific activity around the line. Leaks can be sensed as low as 0.25 gallons-per-minute. The data is sent continuously to CNX’s Water Control Desk, where corresponding alerts and alarms are triggered.


CNX blends and recycles water at a variety of locations, providing recycled produced water to our operations for use in drilling and completions, minimizing the need for freshwater. We reuse or recycle more produced water than we produce ourselves, by consuming produced water from our peers and reducing the environmental impact of our activities beyond our own footprint. CNX collaborates with other operators in the basin and adjusts our schedule to take advantage of opportunities to share recycled water. In addition to reducing freshwater use, recycling reduces the amount of water disposed via injection wells, turning what has traditionally been a liability into an asset.

Water Quality and Protection

CNX is committed to groundwater protection and employs a variety of industry recommended management practices to protect groundwater, including but not limited to:

  • Multi-layers of impermeable steel casing to prevent fluids from migrating from the wellbore
  • Monitoring the integrity of the casing and cement system through field inspection
  • Multi-stage pressure testing of the wellbore
  • Monitoring groundwater aquifers/residential drinking water supplies

The protection of water quality within all areas of operation is of the utmost importance and CNX is committed to its protection. CNX has been conducting both baseline water testing ahead of activity, and follow-up testing on nearby sources throughout the lifecycle of well development for more than a decade.

As part of our Radical Transparency program, we have expanded this program to take multiple water quality samples before drilling occurs, and after wells are completed. Additionally, we will be expanding our sampling program to include downstream surface water. CNX uses third-party environmental consultants to collect water samples for analysis at state-certified laboratories against a list of parameters that surpass regulatory requirements. CNX shares the results with the landowners, state regulatory agencies, and (with landowner consent) publishes the results on our Radical Transparency website.

CNX strives to ensure every landowner understands their water quality results, informs water purveyors of our findings before activity begins, and educates the public on the steps we take to ensure groundwater quality is preserved throughout the well development process. We design, construct, and operate our wells utilizing advanced technology, leading industry practices, and stringent product specifications that exceed the requirements for wellbore integrity and groundwater protection. An impermeable steel casing system around wells helps to prevent impacts to shallow drinking water zones. Integrity is monitored throughout well development by inspections and wellbore logging, with multiple pressure tests to ensure integrity.

We take each and every concern expressed by a landowner seriously, with a dedicated team of environmental scientists and hydrogeologists responsible for responding quickly to concerns. An investigation is initiated within 24 hours of any suspected groundwater contamination reported to us within our operational area. This process includes notifying regulatory agencies, initiating additional sampling to assess the nature of water quality complaints, and taking appropriate steps to ensure concerned stakeholders have access to safe drinking water while an assessment is made. CNX works closely with the regulatory agencies to report known water concerns outside of the window of our operational responsibility, ensuring stakeholder concerns are addressed and drinking water sources are safe. CNX engages with external stakeholders to maintain an open line of communication for voicing concerns, including face-to-face meetings with our team of professional Land Agents, individualized mailings from our permitting team explaining our water baseline and lifecycle well testing procedure, and direct contact with our Community Relations team via email ( or phone (724-485-4998).

Pre-disclosure of Additives

In 2023, CNX began publicly disclosing drilling and fracturing additives prior to their use on our Radical Transparency website. Drilling and hydraulic fracturing additives do not contain intentionally added per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (also known as PFAS).

In February 2024, Chemstream Inc. announced that it would be the first service provider to stand with CNX in our Radical Transparency program, and would no longer have components listed as “proprietary” in disclosures, regardless of the operator.


During 2023, our team developed an efficient enterprise solution for better tracking and visibility of our water hauling data. The software, known as H2Ops, is proprietary to CNX.

This innovation has helped decrease emissions and costs by highlighting truck wait times, improving fleet management, and reducing hauls and truck idle times. In 2024, CNX plans to implement “slowdown zones” and other safety improvements using geospatial tracking and geofencing. The software will also be used to track solids hauling, starting with waste in the spring of 2024.