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Swiss flushing away millions in gold and silver every year

Swiss flushing away millions in gold and silver every year
From Reuters - October 12, 2017

ZURICH (Reuters) - While Londons sewers can get clogged with fatbergs made up of grease and diapers, it seems Switzerlands waste system is flecked with silver and gold.

Researchers last year detected 3 tonnes of silver and 43 kg of gold in effluent and sludge from waste water treatment plants - amounting to around 3 million Swiss francs ($3.1 million).

But before people start hunting in their drains for jewelry, the government study said the tiny particles were likely to be mostly from the watchmaking, pharmaceuticals and chemical industries, which use the metals in their products and processes.

You hear stories about an angry man or woman throwing jewelry down the toilet, but we didnt find any rings, unfortunately, report author Bas Vriens said on Thursday.

The levels of gold or silver were very small, in the micrograms, or even nanograms, but when you add them up its pretty substantial.

Researchers are now studying if it is worthwhile to extract the metals that end up in sewage sludge before usually being burnt, but so far it has not found to be cost effective.

Higher levels of gold were found in the western Swiss region of Jura, believed to be linked to watchmakers that use the precious metal to decorate their expensive timepieces.

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