“Follow the Flush” Wastewater 5K Walk

Event has passed (Sat May 5, 2018 - Sat May 5, 2018)
UC Santa Cruz
9:30 am to 3:00 pm
Art, Lecture / Discussion


Santa Cruz – On May 5th, 2018, hundreds of people will participate in a Wastewater Walk, travelling from UCSC campus to the City of Santa Cruz Wastewater Treatment Plant. Free and open to the public with advance registration, ‘Follow the Flush,’ is a participatory 5K walk that follows the path of human wastewater along hidden routes of hybridized urban infrastructure and natural features. Interactive art installations and informational kiosks along the way offer a fun way to learn more about what happens after we flush the toilet. Participants will engage in some potty humor as a playful entryway into broader conversations about waste, sanitation, sustainability, and resilience.

The Santa Cruz event marks the fourth installment of the series of Wastewater Walks by artist collective FICTILIS, co-developed with the Wastewater Research Group at University of California Santa Cruz, with support from the City of Santa Cruz and the Santa Cruz Arts Commission. According to FICTILIS’s Timothy Furstnau, “Wastewater touches on so many important topics at the intersections of ecological and social issues, from water conservation and sea level rise, to equitability and access to sanitation. By zooming out examine critical infrastructure design, and zooming into the human microbiome, we may even begin to question categories like the ‘natural’ and the ‘human.’ The walks are our way of trying to embed awareness of these issues and questions into our surroundings and to make them more a part of everyday life.”

Artist installations and performances by Shawn Shafner, Heidi Quante + Alicia Escott, Morgan Levy + Jon Cohrs, and displays by the Santa Cruz Climate Action Committee, Surfrider Foundation, PHLUSH, and others encourage further exploration of these interrelated topics. Participants are invited to speak openly about their bathroom behavior, tell jokes, and play games in an effort to get more in touch with themselves, with each other, and with the landscapes we share.

‘Follow the Flush’ marks the first time the Wastewater Walk will be organized in partnership with a local municipality and the first time a treatment plant will be open for tours as part of the event. As the walk ends at the Santa Cruz wastewater treatment facility, a tour of the facility will begin, which will celebrate the work that goes into maintaining this critical infrastructure, including the role that microorganisms play in processing the “movements” of the thousands of people it serves.

Santa Cruz Arts Commission
The seven-member Arts Commission was established in 1977 to advise City Council on policies that enhance the aesthetic and cultural quality of life in the City of Santa Cruz. Appointed by the City Council, commissioners are volunteers who share a strong commitment to the arts. To learn more about the Arts Commission, City Arts programs, and to take a virtual tour of the City's public art, go to https://www.SantaCruzCityArts.com.

Wastewater Treatment Facility
The award-winning Santa Cruz Wastewater Treatment Facility operates and maintains a regional wastewater treatment and disposal facility. Wastewater treatment is provided for the City of Santa Cruz and the Santa Cruz County Sanitation District including Live Oak, Capitola, Soquel and Aptos.


  1. UC Santa Cruz 1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA