Scientists find $1.8 million worth of gold in Switzerland wastewater

In Switzerland they just throw this stuff away

A study published by the Swiss Federal Institute of Science and Technology on October 10 estimated about 3,000 kilograms of silver and 43 kilograms of gold enter the Swiss sewer system each year. "It wouldn't make sense for people to boil their tap water to recover gold or silver", Vriens added.

They also estimated that around 6,600 pounds of silver flows through those same pipes, which is about $1.7 million, according to Bloomberg.

The sweeping study, which was commissioned by the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment, analysed 64 waste water treatment plants in the country, CNN Money reported. Overall, however, according to the researchers, the recovery of metals from wastewater or sludge is scarcely worthwhile at present, either financially or in terms of the amounts which could be extracted.

Eawag described it as "the first systematic, quantitative assessment" in a news release.

Scientists speculate that flecks of gold enter the waste water system from the country's watchmaking industry and even gold refineries.

But gold is not the only pricey metal flowing through the sewage system in Switzerland, there is silver that can be extricated as well.

Gold prospectors shouldn't get too excited.

A national research institute took samples from pipelines and water treatment plants, and concluded that the Swiss are throwing 40 kilograms of gold annually.

Unfortunately (or fortunately), while there will never be a modern day gold rush over these findings since Eawag researchers have determined that it would be not "economically worthwhile" to retrieve those metals - except perhaps in the Italian-speaking Canton of Ticino, which is home to several gold refineries and hence the concentration of gold in the sludge is higher.

Sewers in the United States might contain gold as well. The net worth of the precious metals is over 3 million dollars.

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