$1.8 Million Worth Of Gold Discovered In Swiss Sewers


$1.8 Million Worth Of Gold Discovered In Swiss Sewers

$1.8 Million Worth Of Gold Discovered In Swiss Sewers
$1.8 Million Worth Of Gold Discovered In Swiss Sewers – image via mentalfloss.com

Almost nothing is more representative of Switzerland than gold. Okay, there’s chocolate, guns, direct democracy, and clocks, but still. There’s nothing more definate to make the world go around than gold. And in any case, neither of the other things were found down Swiss sewers other than occasionally chocolate.

Anyway, around $1.8 million worth was discovered in Switzerland’s sewage system, according to a study reported on by Bloomberg. Researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology have looked at over 64 water treatment plants from across the country and found that roughly 94 pounds of it are being washed down the drain on a yearly basis.

Sampling at the Werdhölzli treatment plant in Zurich.Eawag

Now, it is true that the Swiss are filthy rich, but they’re not that rich so as to throw it away down the drain – not all of them, at least. The thing is that 70% of all gold from around the world, passes through Switzerland’s many refineries. And the thing is that these refineries are the main source. And it’s silver as well down those drains. In fact, they found well over 6,600 pounds of silver, as well as concentrations o tantalum and germanium. The researchers who’ve conducted this ‘salvage’ experiment, also note that in most cases, recovering these metals won’t be worthwhile.

“At certain sites in Ticino, concentrations of gold in sewage sludge are sufficiently high for recovery to be potentially worthwhile,” the study’s authors wrote in a press release. “This can be attributed to the presence of several gold refineries in the region.”

The study says it’s the first of its kind to observe a wastewater system for trace elements in an industrialized country.