Just when you think you’ve heard everything, experts have just released the discovery that human feces contains gold and other precious metals that could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars, according to the AFP. Kathleen Smith of the U.S, Geological Survey stated the following after her team discovered precious metals such as platinum, silver, and gold in treated waste.
“The gold we found was at the level of a minimal mineral deposit.”
Unbelievably, another group of experts in another study found that waste from one million Americans could contain as much as $13 million worth of precious metals. If a feasible way could be found to collect such precious metals, there could also be environmental benefits by decreasing the need for mining and reducing the undesired release of metals into the environment, such as lead.
According to Real Clear Science, “sewage sludge contains traces of gold, silver, and platinum at levels that would be seen as commercially viable by traditional prospectors.”
Scientists therefore are essentially saying that fortunes are literally going down the drain. Smith said the following regarding how we can avoid such waste (no pun intended).
“If you can get rid of some of the nuisance metals that currently limit how much of these biosolids we can use on fields and forests, and at the same time recover valuable metals and other elements, that’s a win-win.”
A previous study by Arizona State University actually found that a city with about one million residents flushed down an amazing $13 million worth of precious metals every year.
Unlike the environmental hazards of the chemicals used in traditional mining, in the controlled setting of a sewage plant, such chemicals needed to draw out the precious metals could be used without such ecological hazards when performed at a sewage plant.
According to the experts, precious metals are used in everyday products, such as shampoos and detergents, and the metals then are sent to the sewage treatment plants. Smith commented that “there are metals everywhere.”
Precious metals are increasingly used in everyday products, such as shampoos, detergents, and even clothes, where nanoparticles are sometimes used to limit body odour. Waste containing these metals all ends up being funnelled through sewage treatment plants, where many metals end up in the leftover solid waste. She stated the following in Real Clear Science, that they are interested in collecting the prized metals.
“We’re interested in collecting valuable metals that could be sold, including some of the more technologically important metals, such as vanadium and copper that are in cell phones, computers and alloys.”
The scientists in the study collected samples from small towns in the Rocky Mountains to consider whether such a project is commercially viable, and used a scanning electron microscope to view the minute amounts of platinum, gold, and silver collected. Their findings from their eight-year study were presented on Monday at the 249th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society in Denver, the scientists showed that the levels of the precious levels collected were, unbelievably, comparable to those discovered in commercial mines.
A Japanese sewage treatment facility in Tokyo has already had a jump-start on the extraction of gold from sludge, and it’s found the amount of gold extracted is comparable to that found in leading gold mines.
On another science front, an article in the Inquisitr reported that a new fossil has been discovered, proving the existence of a previously-undiscovered species of ancient carnivorous amphibian: a massive fish-eating salamander that prowled the land and water more than 200 million years ago. Amazing what can be discovered, from the minute waste of the planet to gigantic fossils that prove other amphibians roamed the earth.
Well, no more money will go down the toilet anymore if the scientists’ studies become a reality.
[Photo Courtesy Real Clear Science]