Scientists find $1.8 million worth of gold in Swiss wastewater

However, the study also produced surprising findings on other trace elements in wastewater, including rare earth metals such as gadolinium and the heavy metal niobium.

In addition to the precious metals, the researchers also looked at concentrations of various elements that are useful in electronics and luminous paints. While the ultimate fate of the various elements has been little studied to date, a large proportion is known to enter wastewater. The USGS has explored ways to remove potentially risky metals from treated sewage that is used as fertilizer and also pursued the possibility of extracting valuable metals from wastewater as a potentially profitable resource.

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.

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It is interesting to note the per capita fluxes calculated for the Swiss population on the basis of the element concentrations measured. The price tag on the accumulated gold: roughly $2 million.

But the concentrations of metals varied across the country. In some sites in the southern Ticino region, "concentrations of gold in sewage sludge are sufficiently high for recovery to be potentially worthwhile", the researchers said in a report published on Tuesday.

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

(NASDAQ:DCTH) and Repros Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ:RPRX)
The company reported the earnings of $-0.08/Share in the last quarter where the estimated EPS by analysts was $-0.22/share. The stock was trading at a distance of -65.60% from its 52-week highs and stands 188.46% away from its 52-week lows.

The pricey metal has been recovered from Swiss sewage and waste water treatment plants, according to CNN Money. "For example, the total aluminum and copper fluxes are equivalent, respectively, to only 0.2 and just under four per cent of annual Swiss imports". But the study, commissioned by the Swiss government and carried out by the water research institute Eawag, was described by Eawag as "the first systematic, quantitative assessment" across an entire industrialized country.

Scientists have struck gold in an unlikely place: Swiss sewage and waste water treatment plants.

A hidden treasure of Switzerland: sewage gold.

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