Approximately 3 tons of silver and 43 kilograms of gold travel through the sewage systems of Switzerland each year. It is believed that the source of the precious metals is the country’s huge watchmaking industry and gold refineries.
Illustration Photo credit: Reuters/ Channel 2 New
Swiss researchers were amazed to discover that no less than 3 tons of silver (6000 pounds) and 43 kilograms (almost 95 pounds) of gold go through the country’s sewage systems each year. The net worth of the precious metals is over 3 million dollars.
According to the research, conducted by Eawag and commissioned by the government, the source of the metals might be the country’s huge watchmaking industry and gold refineries. “You hear stories about an angry man or woman throwing jewelry down the toilet but we didn’t find any rings,” stated report author Bas Vriens. “The levels of gold or silver were very small, in the micrograms or even nanograms but when you add them up, it’s pretty substantial.”
Currently, the researchers are checking whether it’s worthwhile to extract the precious metals from the sewage. The study also found that the particles are filtered from the water through the existing systems before they reach people’s taps. “It wouldn’t make sense for people to boil their tap water to recover gold or silver,” Vriens added. “It has already been filtered out before it re-enters the drinking water supply.”
This isn’t the first time that the Swiss found treasures in odd locations. Only last month, an investigation was launched after the toilets of a bank and 3 restaurants in Geneva were blocked by 100 thousand dollars’ worth of cash.