Swiss Flush $3 Million In Gold And Silver Down The Drain Every Year

Tyler Durden's picture

When it comes to flushing valuables down the toilet, the Swiss are hardly "Austrians", and appear to be equity-opportunity dumpers, whether it is fiat or hard money.

Last month we reported that Switzerland was gripped in a mystery, after it was discovered that someone tried to flush $120,000 in €500 bills down the toilet in a bathroom close to a UBS bank vault as well as three nearby restaurants, which in turn clogged the local toilets requiring thousands of francs in plumbing repairs to unclog the pipes.

However, it's not just paper currency that gets flushed down the toilet in the world's wealthiest nation, and as it turns out Switzerland's waste water is far more precious than it smells.

According to Reuters, last year researchers from the National Eawag Water Research Institute detected 3 tonnes of silver and 43 kg of gold in sludge extracted from the country's waste water treatment plants, totalling roughly 3 million Swiss francs, or just over $3.1 million. However, unlike the cash flushing mystery, the source of the golden effluent is far less exciting: 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.

Which makes sense: Switzerland is one of Europe's biggest commodity trading hubs, as well as one of the world’s biggest gold-processing countries. Government statistics show gold accounted for more than a quarter of all exports in 2016, when Switzerland sold 298 billion francs worth of goods abroad.

“You hear stories about an angry man or woman throwing jewelry down the toilet, but we didn’t 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 it’s pretty substantial.”

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.


There was also a higher concentration in the southern canton of Ticino due to the gold refineries in the area. This was the only region where it might make sense to recover the metals, Vriens said.


Other trace elements including rare metals such as gadolinium - used in medical imaging - were also found by the scientists from the government’s institute of aquatic science and technology

So should the government go prospecting for the millions in discarded gold and silver particles floating around among the feces? While researchers have been studying whether it is worthwhile to extract the metals that end up in the sludge before usually being burnt, so far it has not found to be cost effective.

Well, there may be an exception: “In some places in the Ticino region, the gold concentration in the sludge is so high that it might be worth recycling it," the Eawag institute said in a statement. We just hope whoever is tasked with this delightful job gets paid enough.

As for the rest of the population, which suddenly has the urge to filter the tap water in pursuit of untold riches, the report author had some bad news: the Swiss metal concentrations complied with regulations and were removed before humans drank the water again. “It wouldn’t make sense for people to boil their tap water to recover gold or silver because it has already been filtered out before it re-enters the drinking water supply,” Vriens said.

As for the original cash flushing mystery, while preliminary clues from an investigation suggest that the cash "dump" once belonged to unnamed “Spanish women who had placed the loot in a Geneva vault several years ago.”

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VD's picture

nah, just go dive into a crypt0 toilet & you'll get flushed to 0.

DownWithYogaPants's picture

Knew a guy who would metal detect outside of Crown King Arizona.  His favorite place?  Where old outhouses used to stand.  Nobody wanted to crawl down in if they dropped something.

Manthong's picture

(31 sec)

johngaltfla's picture

So who is the loser who gets the title "Precious Metals Poop Extrication Engineer" in Zurich?

UmbilicalMosqueSweeper's picture

Diamonds would be selling in dollar stores if they released all that they have accumulated.

tmosley's picture

Yup. They are trivial to create artificially, too. Flawless, even.

Identify as Ferengi's picture

This looks like a great opportunity for a relatively low-tech industrial process that could significantly reduce the cost of these utility services. If they'd issue an RFP, my associates would be pleased to respond.

NoPension's picture

Saw an episode on TV...60 minutes??? , about s guy who " mines " the cracks in the sidewalks in New York City's jewelry district. It was amazing what he found...

UmbilicalMosqueSweeper's picture

I know a guy who used to mine the cracks in Japan and the Philippines.

Vlad the Inhaler's picture

As bitcoin makes new all time highs today.

VD's picture

the ponzi is strong. i love it!


it even helps keep pm prices even on bigger sale.


let it go higher and higher! as per Deep State. and then....

tmosley's picture

Back that truck over the waterfall.

tmosley's picture

Now we finally learn why VD eats so much shit.

The only question is why he comes here to puke it out all over our computer screens.

malek's picture

..says the cryptoRETARD.

tmosley's picture

>You are retarded for being right

I can't help but laugh at you pathetic oldbugs.

grasha87's picture

I have begun reviewing books on Austrian Economics and there are many more to come. Here is my latest book review:

VD's picture

austrian school thinks crypt0 is a joke.

tmosley's picture

Nah, just Peter Schiff.

Smarter people who understand the history of money see the obvious parallels to free banking and split tally sticks.

VD's picture

you're such a fukn ignoramus. to wit, one of many austrian positions on crypt0-ponzi:


" But caveat emptor—thinking that we are magically creating new stores-of-value and thus a new safe haven is a profound mistake."


read between the lines -- they are applauding the tech, not the "coin". huge diff.


austrians do NOT consider buttcoin as money.


"However, mainstream adoption has been propelled by financial speculation instead of by demand for a privately minted and deflationary medium of exchange."



wait till it gets "hacked".



"Summary and conclusion

Contrary to the recent hype, we hold that Bitcoin is not money but rather a new way of employing existent money in transactions. The fact that the price of bitcoins has jumped massively lately implies that people assign a high value for the services it offers and nothing more."


this is a services ponzi. nothing more.



tmosley's picture

There are lots of Austrians out there, retard. You think EVERY LAST ONE is a retarded oldbug like you?

I don't think so.

Also, one bitcoin now buys 4.22 ounces of gold.

How does it feel to watch opportunity slip your grasp as you try to justify your opinion in the face of stark reality?

VD's picture



your hubris is awesome -- you are the resident zh troll here. no matter the quotes, links and evidence you keep on coming in boundless idiocy. it's quite amazing.


when you're at zero and u wiped your mom out for good, then maybe you'll realize what's been communicated here.

tmosley's picture

You are a pathetic little man.

Also, $5500 :^)

VD's picture

itz a ponzi -- on steroids. that's what happens. nothing to be proud of. itz a blantant transparent scam. "Satoshi" thanks you for participating.

tmosley's picture

Ponzis fraudulently claim to pay dividends. Bitcoin does not claim to have dividends.

This is very simple, but you are so mad you just string words together that sound like an attack.

It's like watching a worm struggle in the sunlight.

Also, $5600 :^)

khnum's picture

I hope the Discovery Channel doesn't learn about this.

Lumberjack's picture

Paul Revere family outhouse may have been uncovered in Boston

...the gold is buried by the cloths line....

runswithscissors's picture

Buttcoins will never go in the toilet!

Juggernaut x2's picture

ZH goldbugs headed to Switzerland to pan for gold in the sewers

runswithscissors's picture

Why go all the way to Switzerland when you can pan the gutters in NYC

BiggestLoser's picture

Jeff Williams has a Youtube channel about finding gold all over; NYC sidewalks and Home Depot bags of sand, and old mines and rock formations. I thought it was a joke at first. He's sorta funny in a silly way.

HOW TO FIND GOLD IN NEW YORK CITY STREETS !!! Where to Look. Ask Jeff Williams

dirtyfiles's picture

that remaind me back in Europe we used to drink vodka containing gold particles/flakes visible at the bottom of the bottle

Juggernaut x2's picture

Goldschlager- consumed much of it my youth here in the US

Identify as Ferengi's picture

Feel rich in the morning. Look at my shit!

covfefe MICdotard's picture

Sounds to me like a few swirlies that got a little rough.

Trucker Glock's picture

Sluice box at the input of every shit plant.

HRH Feant2's picture

Things that make you go hmmmmm.

NewHugh's picture

Mystery solved! The Swiss drink their Goldschlager and poop it out!!!

Cluster_Frak's picture

Goldman has its mouth around that pipe.

morethan1's picture

Anyone pick up on that they filter/treat the wastewater and then use it to supplement the POTABLE water?!  SO unappealing!

tmosley's picture

It's fine. I helped a guy get his PhD on the subject. His project went on the space station though. Same system would work on Earth, and at a lower price, if they would manufacture the modified filters in quantity (these didn't have to be changed because bacteria wouldn't grow on them).

Every drop of water you drink that wasn't manufactured from rock or harvested from space has passed through countless anuses, both human and otherwise.

Mr_Potatohead's picture

Reality check:

There is even more gold in the ocean --> and in outerspace --> The issue isn't whether the gold is there; it's whether there is a cost-effective or practical to collect it. 

This situation is actually one of the keys to using precious metals as a store of value.  There is no practical economic way to fabricate precious metals from less expensive stuff, and there is no technology on the horizon for doing this.  Supply is potentially infinite, but the cost of adding new metal to existing stocks gets increasingly high as easily obtainable supplies are exhasted.   There are no shortcuts to expanding supply, which tends to grow at a slow rate that has been roughly comparable to global population growth since Isaac Newton invented the gold standard.  Whether you favor it or not, the gold standard essentially tied the growth of the money supply to population growth.  This made it difficult to irresponsibly expand a money supply because there were very real consequences, but it invariably resulted in a regular boom/bust cycles.  The gold standard died when it became desirable (and profitable) for the clowns in charge to expand the money supply by convincing the masses that they could avoid boom-bust cycles in favor of a permanent boom that lifted all boats in nominal terms.  What the masses didn't realize then and still don't realize is that they are being systematically robbed in real terms.

A few questions for those who love to beat on the gold-bugs: 

(a) What happened to the holders of gold when Nixon closed the gold window in 1971? Did they suddenly exclaim, "Oh, shit, my gold is now worthless.  I'm a dumb fuck who was outsmarted by Nixon, so I'll just get rid of it and write everything off as a big loss."


(b) Did the really big holders recognize exactly what was happening and start acquiring even more in anticipation of exponential growth of the debt-backed US currency? 

(c) Did the Rothchild's bank stop participating in the London Gold Fix in 2004 because of the reasons stated in the mainstream media or because they were one of the biggest holders of gold and saw the endgame coming? -->

(d)  How much bitcoin do you think the Rothchild's own?

grasha87's picture

I have begun reviewing books on Austrian Economics and there are many more to come. Here is my latest book review: