"I wish it had been done before we started [flushing] rather than when we were halfway through," McIntyre said of the advisory. "But we deal with the realities of the guidance as we get it."
McIntyre acknowledged customers' distrust of the company while taking a sip of water poured from one of three full pitchers inside West Virginia American Water's conference room.
"Trust is one of those things," McIntyre said. "I understand. ... Trust is something we'll build back up over time."
McIntyre said he and his wife have been drinking the water, as well as using it for cooking and cleaning, since the water ban was lifted.
Responding to the skepticism of reporters that the water in those pitchers might be bottled, McIntyre filled a glass from the tap and drank it. It didn't smell, McIntyre said.
"I wish it did," he said. "I'd drink it anyway."
The company has not been testing customer taps for traces of the chemical, which leaked into the river nearly two weeks ago. There are no plans to provide such a service to its customers, McIntyre said.
"Our responsibility is to make sure the system is safe," McIntyre said. "There's work that people need to do for themselves. We can't do everything for everybody."
While Freedom Industries -- the company housing Crude MCHM -- is located just upstream from the water company's intake, West Virginia American Water had no mechanisms for detecting the chemical nor for treating it in water.
McIntyre said he believed the water company made attempts before the leak to contact Freedom Industries about what was stored at the site but received no answers.
It's uncertain whether West Virginia American Water customers will see a rate increase as a result of the chemical leak. McIntyre said the water company couldn't seek another rate increase from the state's Public Service Commission until 2015.
"I can't say what the impact will be, because I'm sure there will be lawsuits, there will be insurance claims and a host of other things," McIntyre said. "The reality is that our only revenue source is our customers."
Reach Rachel Molenda at rachel.mole...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5102.