WVAW President Drinks Tap Water; Acknowledges Long Road Ahead

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- While it has been a long road traveled for West Virginia American Water, they know there's still a long way to go.

"Customers trust in us has been shaken," company President Jeff McIntyre said. "We've been shaken to our core here."

"Everyone needs to remember that we were impacted as equally as everyone else. We didn't cause this spill," McIntyre said. "We're dealing with the fallout."

However, why didn't the company have a plan in place to prevent that fallout? According to McIntyre, they tried. He says they requested information on the chemical plant a mile and a half upstream, information that was never supplied.

He also revealed that they didn't learn what the chemical was until almost 2 p.m. the day of the spill on Jan. 9, more than five hours after neighbors noticed that licorice-like odor in the air.

McIntyre says he understands customers want action, as well as results now, which is why he explained the activated carbon filter that is continually cleaning the water.

"It's a filter-media product in a powder form that we can add upstream that has a high-absorbent capacity to capture materials like this and settle it out of the water before it gets to our filters," McIntyre said.

However, even that is not enough for many customers who are weary of the inconvenience the spill caused. They're leery of water that still smells.That's why this company president put his money, where his mouth is and took a drink in the company break room. He's hoping that in this case actions speak louder than words.

McIntyre said they will work with customers when it comes to their bills.

Also, the company is looking into what legal action it can take against Freedom Industries.

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