"Where There's Shit There's Brass" (or Something): Swiss Flush $2 Million USD Worth of Gold Annually

ZURICH, Switzerland

A study by scientists from Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag) shows that gold and silver each amounting to around CHF 1.5 million ($2 Million USD) a year are lost via effluents and sludge from wastewater treatment plants in Switzerland. Other rare earth elements such as gadolinium and the heavy metal niobium were identified in the study.The researchers believe that tiny flecks of gold flow into the wastewater system from the country's watchmaking industry and gold refineries.

The concentrations of metals measured do not pose risks to the environment – and recycling would not be economically worthwhile.