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Treasure Hunting: Gold In The Sewers

Posted By: on October 24, 2012

Nobody likes toilets. They’re certainly useful, we would be lost without them, and they’ve provided a generation’s worth of humor and comedic gags. But there’s a taboo about them that we can’t shake. We can all think of an embarrassing toilet story that’s happened to us, or anyone that we know.

And yet, the lowly toilet – and the labyrinth network that runs under it, connecting all commodes like computers on the Internet – is full of surprises.

Got The Time?

Consider this story from Pleasant Gap, Pennsylvania, where a man lost both his wedding band and Timex Watch to the sewers when his four year old son thought it’d be a good idea to flush them down the drains. However, dad was reunited with his belongings after they were recovered – 3,000 feet away and a year later.

The watch still worked, although the smell precluded any emotional reunions.


In 2007, a  couple from Grand Rapids, Michigan watched as a plumber rescued a $7,000 engagement ring from the clutches of their toilet, using a wire hanger, cable and a fiber optic camera. The fiance was so overjoyed, he complained about the size of the bill before his soon-to-be wife stepped in.

I don’t know which will make the funnier story to tell at parties – that the duo almost lost their engagement ring, or that the man seemingly entertained the idea that it would’ve been cheaper to let the ring remain where it was.

Safe Disposal

Earlier this year, a woman was reunited with two $10,000 rings that she had unwittingly flushed down the toilet. Sanitation workers who found the jewelry said that the chances of the items being returned to their owner were “slim to none”.

The woman had placed her rings in a Kleenex for safety, before mistaking the Kleenex for soiled tissues and chucking the whole ensemble away. So much for safety.

One Ring To Ruse Them All

Another woman in Idaho had to wait 18 months to be reunited with her wedding ring after it slipped off her finger and down the drain. Her husband diligently disassembled the toilet and even crawled under the house to retrieve the ring, but it was too late. A year and a half later, sewer workers found the precious band in a filtration basket. The news went viral, prompting calls from people across the country claiming the ring was theirs, before the real owners showed up to claim their property.

Admirable as the woman’s husbands attempts to get his wife’s wedding ring were, it’s probably best that the recovery and sewer cleaning were handled by the experts.

The Lord of the Ring

Maybe the biggest treasure found in the sewers was this $26,000 diamond ring that was found in the sewers of Orange County, California in 2004. The 3.78-caray trinket went unclaimed for over a year before finally being put up for auction by the local district.

Perhaps the original owner of the ring was too embarrassed to step forward and admit that he or she flushed $26,000 down the pooper.

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