Sanitary tee | effluent filter

The Role of the Sanitary Tee

What is a Sanitary Tee?

All septic tanks are made with an opening for the waste to exit the tank into the septic drainfield.  This opening is called the outlet. Inside the tank at the

sanitary tee and effluent filter in septic tank
Sanitary Tee on the outlet side of the septic tank with a clean effluent filter.

outlet, there will be a PVC “T”-shaped fitting, called the Sanitary Tee, consisting of a short section of horizontal piping leading into a slightly longer vertical section of piping that is open on both the top and the bottom. The top of the vertical section must extend above the level of the scum layer (where grease accumulates), and the bottom of the vertical section must extend below the bottom level of the scum layer.

The diagram from NC State Extension Publications pictured below is a great visual to explain how the septic tank works.


The Role of the Sanitary Tee:


Sanitary tee | effluent filter

One of the MOST IMPORTANT components in a septic tank, the sanitary tee helps regulate an opening so that solid waste, grease and other trash does not enter the drain field. If the sludge layer at the bottom of the tank and/or the scum layer at the top of the tank get too close to the exit of the outlet tee. Or, if the Sanitary Tee is missing, broken or not working properly, waste could enter the drain field, causing septic drainfield failure. An additional insurance to prevent waste from entering the drain field, is an effluent filter.  Newer systems are equipped with an effluent filter inside of the outlet tee which is designed to collect solids that may otherwise be discharged from the tank.

When a drain field fails, the drainlines are no longer able to absorb wastewater, and the waste could eventually back up into the house.

Prevent Sewage Backups:

Because the septic tank is located below the soil surface, it is easy to forget about regular maintenance, yet having your septic tank pumped out every 3-5 years could be the key to preventing expensive repairs in the future. Not only would you be preventing extensive damage to your septic drainfield, you may also prevent damage to the inside of your home – potentially saving thousands, or tens of thousands in repair. Lentz Septic Tank Service offers a Free Evaluation of your Sanitary Tee and Effluent Filter with your paid pumping service.

Professional Septic Tank Pumping

(704) 876-1834





One thought on “The Role of the Sanitary Tee

  1. Lentz Septic technicians will evaluate the tank and let you know if the sanitary tee needs to be replaced. If you need a sanitary tee, contact Lentz’s sister company, Lentz Wastewater Management. Lentz Wastewater specializes in all types of septic repair and installation


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