From buying bottled water to taking extra precautions at restaurants and hospitals, thousands of people in the Sydney area are doing whatever they can to cope with a boil water order.

Wednesday marked the second day of the advisory, which is among the most widespread the area has seen in years.

Coffee shop co-owner Carrie Annesty says the boil water order is making for extra work at her shop.

“We have to boil all the water then cool it down. Ice cubes are affected, we have to take temperatures on our coffee to make sure everything is up to code,” she says.

Bottled water is selling fast at local grocery stores and some storeowners have had to bring in emergency shipments to restock empty shelves.

“My neighbour told me he went looking for water and couldn’t find it,” says shopper Marilyn Thompson. “I don’t know where they ended up finding it.”

The CBRM Water Utility issued the advisory for the Sydney water system on Tuesday after one of the 21 test samples taken at the beginning of each week showed the presence of some sort of bacteria.

The advisory affects roughly 27,000 customers in the Sydney area.

“We actually did the first follow-up results to those samples today and those samples are clear, so we’re halfway there to lifting the boil water advisory,” says Water Operations Manager Greg Penney.

People are urged to boil their water for two minutes before drinking or consuming it in any way.

The advisory won’t be lifted until two consecutive samples, taken 24 hours apart, turn up clean. Until then, people are being advised to take precautions, particularly those in the health-care industry.

“We’re watching our water use in places like renal dialysis, where we used water that comes through a special system,” says Greg Boone, a spokesperson for the Cape Breton District Health Authority.

“But we’re adapting and our infection prevention control people are watching and monitoring the situation fairly closely.”

If Thursday’s samples show the presence of bacteria, the boil water advisory could last into the weekend.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Ryan MacDonald