September 29, 2021

Beyond the Pipes: SymPOOsium

A gathering of great minds, and even greater ambitions, working towards solving Wellington’s wastewater and sanitation crisis.

Beyond the Pipes, a consortium of experts committed to facilitating conversation, research and exploration of better wastewater and sanitation systems, gathered for its inaugural SymPOOsium in Wellington recently.


Support from Clare to cover the cost of the event allowed a passionate and highly engaged crowd of over 50 attendees to take a closer look at the challenges and opportunities facing the capital city, explore possible alternative approaches, and how to get closer to trialling them.


Facilitators Liam Prince (The Rubbish Trip) and Grant Symons (Founding Director of Transition-HQ) were joined by a stellar line-up of panellists, where conversations spanned important topics including the beneficial reuse of biosolids to Māori, tikanga values, the relevance of approaches from previous generations, water sensitive urban design and the need to pilot and troubleshoot new systems. The relevance of transitional thinking and smart investment when seeking to achieve big changes in systems was also a core theme.


There was plenty of time for group discussion amongst attendees after each panel discussion, with impressive representation from communities across Wellington as well as local, regional and central govt officials and politicians, researchers and scientists.


Ideas and discussion will become a thematic analytic report to capture key themes in an accessible format that can be shared with communities and policymakers alike. A number of attendees signed up to be part of the conversation going forward and the planning of next steps.


The dedication to environmental consideration even extended to zero waste principles at the lunch break! Milk was sourced in reusable glass bottles, plant milk was made from scratch, local coffee was obtained in reusable containers, tea leaves instead of teabags, the food was prepared by Sweet Release and delivered without any disposable serveware in reusable containers with reusable cutlery. Kaicycle also provided compost buckets for coffee grinds, tea leaves and plate scrapings, and leftover food was taken home by attendees in their own containers.