Switzerland seems like a lovely place to live: snowy mountain peaks to ski, lakeside cities to explore, and 43 kilograms of gold flowing through the sewers that no one seems all that worried about.
According to Bloomberg, Swiss scientists estimate Switzerland’s bustling gold refineries disperse about $1.8 million worth of gold into the country’s sewer system every year. In the southern Ticino region of Switzerland, home to many of its refineries, the “concentrations of gold in sewage sludge are sufficiently high for recovery to be potentially worthwhile,” the scientists said. Swiss refineries process about 70 percent of the world’s gold. The scientists also found $1.7 million worth of silver (or 3,000 kilograms) flowing through wastewater every year, most of which comes from chemical and medical plants.
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There isn’t enough wasted metal in the system to pose an environmental risk, but there is enough to make spelunking through Switzerland’s underground waterways seem like a worthwhile use of time. Hell of a payday for anyone who can figure out a clever (and sanitary) way to extract gold and silver from sewage.