The water main break that shut down area schools and led to a boil water advisory in York County was caused by an old pipe from the 1940s, Rock Hill Mayor John Gettys said Thursday.

“This was not worker negligence. This was not contractor-driven,” he said. “This was not anything other than an old pipe that has been under the ground since 1949 and had outlived its life.”

The mayor said the city has been working for two decades to change out old pipes, and this particular pipe was supposed to be replaced in 18 months.

A 24-inch water main broke along Cherry Road, leaving some residents with low water pressure and opening the possibility to contaminated water. Municipal water customers, including Fort Mill customers, were asked to reduce water use as much as possible while crews work to isolate the problem.

Meanwhile, all Fort Mill Schools will resume classes Friday. The Fort Mill School District has been notified by the Rock Hill water service that repairs to the water system have been completed.

All schools and district facilities will operate on a normal schedule Friday, October 11.

The county remains under a boil water advisory. All water fountains will be closed and cafeterias will operate using the boil water protocols provided by SC DHEC. A modified food menu will be used and information regarding the menu can be found in the student nutrition section of the district website.

The district will supply bottled water to all facilities for drinking and all restrooms will be operational.

Also, the Town of Fort Mill said its crews will begin a flushing program to cleanse the water lines as water is restored.

“Water pressure will likely fluctuate throughout the day today,” a press release says.

As of Thursday morning, Fort Mill was still under a Boil Water Advisory, which means water may be contaminated, and the town will continue to be under an advisory through at least Friday, Oct. 11. 

“We recommend only using boiled water until further notice. Instructions for purifying water by boiling are available on the SCDHEC website,” the town said.