Would You Rather Discuss Trump’s Tax Plan or Sewers Full of Gold?

Photo credit: macaron*macaron(Est Bleu2007), CC BY 2.0.

So the responsible side of me is saying “we should discuss President Trump’s new tax plan,” although I’m sure there will be at least three newer tax plans before this thing ever gets put into practice, and the entire tax plan can be summed up by this USA Today headline: “What Donald Trump is not telling you about his tax overhaul plan: Some will pay more taxes.”

Plus, the irresponsible side of me says we should discuss this story about finding gold in poop.

So let’s go to CNN and their headline: “Scientists find gold worth $2 million in Swiss sewage.”

I love how much information they packed into that headline. Scientists! Two million dollars worth of gold! Swiss sewage!

Here’s what you need to know:

An estimated 95 pounds of gold is flushed through Swiss sewage systems each year, according to a study by the aquatic science institute Eawag.

The lost gold is worth nearly $2 million at current prices.

The researchers believe the tiny flecks of gold flow into the waste water system from the country’s famed watchmaking industry and gold refineries.

None of the articles I have read on the gold sewage issue—and there are many, because this is how the internet works—provides a theory as to how the gold is getting into the sewage. Is this an issue of gold passing through people’s digestive systems, or is it more like “the gold gets into the sewer system when they hose down equipment or carefully clean watchmaking tools?”

So I went to the original Eawag study, which uses the phrase “digested sewage sludge and effluent samples,” which does imply that at least some of the gold is in the poop.

It’s gotta be from people’s hands, right? They get a little gold dust on themselves as they work, and then they don’t wash it all off and they… eat it? Is that what’s going on here?

Anyway, the point is that someone needs to be pitching a heist movie about getting gold out of Swiss sewers right now.

(Also, if you’d rather discuss Trump’s tax plan, the comment section is open.)

UPDATE: the word “digested” means something different in a wastewater context. Check the comments for more info.

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