The city of Whitewright issued a boil order Tuesday following a large water main break. The break, which occurred shortly before noon, left western portions of the city without water, while Whitewright schools were forced to release early, city officials said.

The break occurred at the corner of State Highways 11 and 160 when a private contractor hooked and broke the waterline during construction at the site.

“Right now, east and north parts of town still have water as long as the tanks have water,” City Clerk Tona Shiplet said Tuesday.

Despite portions of the city still having water, Shiplet asked that all residents boil water prior to use due to possible contamination from the break.

City officials are asking residents to boil and cool any water that is used for consumption or hygiene for at least two minutes before use.

Shiplet said the earliest that the boil order could be lifted would be Thursday. Once the main is repaired, a sample of the city’s water will be taken Wednesday morning and sent to a lab for testing. The testing will take about 24 hours to process, she said.

Shiplet said she was uncertain when the repairs would be completed, but said she expected it to be some time Tuesday. Following the repairs, city crews will resume pumping water into the city’s storage tanks from its wells, she said.

“They will not stop until the repair is made, be it two hours or midnight,” she said.

The water outage and boil order prompted officials with Whitewright Independent School District to let classes out early Tuesday. An official at the district’s administrative office, who declined to give a name, said the school hoped to resume classes Wednesday if water was available, as the schools are currently conducting testing.

District officials also made trips to pick up cases of bottled water in case it is needed over the next few days.