Published: Thu, October 12, 2017
Business | By Max Garcia

Scientists find $1.8 million worth of gold in Switzerland wastewater

However, besides for gold, the report shows, the Swiss sewage becomes more and more crowded as the years go by, because annually almost 3.000 kilograms of silver are being thrown away.

The researchers believe the tiny flecks of gold flow into the waste water system from the country's famed watchmaking industry and gold refineries.

Swiss scientists have found that 43kg of gold worth about $1.8 million is passing through Switzerland's wastewater each year, as first spotted by Bloomberg.

That's over $2.25 million in gold and $2.12 million in silver, researchers report.

The related study was conducted by an aquatic science institute called Eawag. But, they did find that there were some sites where recovery of the gold could be viable, like in the refinery-rich Ticino region where concentrations of the precious metal were likely high enough to justify the extraction effort and cost.

The concentrations of metals in most cases do not harm the environment, according to the study, which was commissioned by Switzerland's Federal Office for the Environment.

The discovery of sewer gold in Switzerland has social media talking.

Researchers' speculation pins the silver findings (and that of other rare minerals) to the nation's manufacturing of electronic devices.

In addition to gold, nearly 3,000 kg of silver - equivalent to a value of Rs 11 crore- was going to waste every year, most if being residue from chemical and medical industries.

In September, Swiss investigators launched a probe into why two Spanish women flushed roughly €100,000 ($120,000) down toilets in Geneva. Investigators feared it could have been dirty money - pun intended.

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