ZURICH, SWITZERLAND – Every year millions of dollars of gold and silver are found in the sewers of Switzerland,this according to a new study.
About $3 million of these metals are flushed away in more than 60 wastewater treatment plants in Switzerland, according to a study by the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology. About 95 pounds of gold and 6,600 pounds of silver are being wasted, scientists said, adding that the annual totals were “very substantial.”
In the town of Ticino, South Switzerland the, “concentrations of gold in sewage sludge are sufficiently high for recovery to be potentially worthwhile,” the study says. This is where a number of gold refineries are located. But mostly, scientists say the metals would not be worth recovering.
Fortunately, the concentrations of metals do not harm the environment, this according to the study, which was commissioned by the Switzerland’s government.
Though it is odd to find precious metals in sewage systems, it is not a rare case. Other countries like the US have been found to have about $13 million also in gold and silver each year in its sewers. It could have can come from hair care products, detergents and nanoparticles put in socks to prevent bad odors, American researcher Kathleen Smith said in a 2015 study.