How can bacteria be very helpful in environmental health? Please be specific.

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I have a perfect example buried in my front yard.  Home septic systems utilize bacteria to treat sewage waste.  The main sewage line from a house empties into a large underground septic tank.  Bacteria in the tank feed on sewage and food waste products, converting them to less harmful byproducts.  The byproducts are then slowly released into the groundwater system where the water is filtered through the soil and eventually collects in an aquifer for re-use by a well.  Without the bacteria in the septic tank, the sewage would simply empty into the surrounding area where it would be a health hazard and possibly pollute nearby water systems. 

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