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Why should I be concerned? Virtually all farms and rural housing use a septic system or similar on-site wastewater treatment system. While these systems are generally economical and safe, household wastewater can contain contaminants that degrade water quality for uses such as drinking, pet and stock watering, food preparation, and cleaning. Potential contaminants in household wastewater include disease-causing bacteria, infectious viruses, household chemicals, and excess nutrients, such as nitrate.