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Three schools along Great Mills Road were forced to close early Friday morning due to a water main break, which also led to warnings from the St. Mary’s County Health Department for residents to boil water before drinking.

A line running to a fire hydrant along the road near Great Mills High School became separated from the 12-inch main at about 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 7, Mike Sullivan, chief of facilities and operations for St. Mary’s County Metropolitan Commission, said.

Automated calls went out to residents affected by the break about 6:20 the next morning, Sullivan said.

A boil-water advisory was issued for residents in Great Mills who are served by public water, primarily the Bay Ridge and Cecil’s Mill subdivisions.

According to a MetCom statement, contaminants may have been introduced into the water distribution system due to the loss of water pressure after the water main break. Sullivan said it was purely a precautionary warning.

St. Mary’s County public schools were informed by the St. Mary’s County Health Department of the water main break, according to a statement from the school system that went out Friday morning about 9:10 a.m. announcing that Great Mills High School, Chesapeake Public Charter School and Fairlead Academy I, all located on the southern end of Great Mills Road, would close at 10 that morning. All three schools reopened Monday at their normal times.

The potentially tainted water affected the ability to serve lunches to students, forcing the early closure last week. Portable water coolers and hand sanitizer/water for washing were provided to each of the affected schools.

Businesses in the area were allowed to remain open, but could not serve any food prepared on premises, including coffee.

An announcement from county government at approximately 8 p.m. Saturday said MetCom had lifted the boil-water advisory.