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. The gold is lost through sludge and effluent from the country’s waste treatment plants according to a report by scientists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology. On average, about 70 percent of the world’s gold passes through Swiss refineries.
The scientists noted that the concentrations found in the wastewater don’t pose risks to the environment, and wide-scale recovery wouldn’t be worthwhile. 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.