When wastewater treatment plant staff in Minnesota were elbow-deep in solids and grit during routine maintenance last month, they stumbled upon an unexpected treasure hidden in the sewage: a sparkling diamond ring.
But how long the ring has been separated from its owner is a mystery, explained John Tierney, manager of mechanical maintenance at the Rogers Wastewater Treatment Plant.
“This ring could have been lost as long as 62 years ago or as recently as a couple of weeks,” Tierney said in an announcement through the Metropolitan Council in Rogers, Minnesota.
Tierney called the odds of finding the ring “astronomical”. But, with the plant being located on South Diamond Lake Road, perhaps it was meant to be.
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The ring itself is quite distinct, but local officials won’t specifically describe it. They also won’t share photos of it. They hope the ring’s rightful owner will hear about the discovery and share a description of it that only they could know.
Recently, we found a ring at one of our regional wastewater treatment plants. This is a rare occurrence, and we want to return the ring to its owner! Please contact us if you lost a wedding ring down the drain: MCES-Inquiries@metc.state.mn.us or 651-602-1269. pic.twitter.com/anFSH2pIkS
— Metropolitan Council (@MetCouncilNews) March 31, 2023
What officials can say is that the ring would have entered the wastewater stream somewhere near Rogers, in northwest Hennepin County.
More than 300 people have already called or emailed local officials in the hope that they may recover their own lost rings. So far, nothing has panned out, explained Kai Peterson, an information specialist with Met Council.
“Some of the stories are heartbreaking,” Peterson said in a statement. “An elderly woman hoping for a miracle for this memory of a deceased husband. One individual even called in lamenting that they had lost their ring the night of their wedding.”
Local officials have since created an online form where users can submit a detailed description of the diamond ring. If it sounds like a match, the municipality is hoping the true owner may even have photos to back up their claim.
To further illustrate this “needle in a haystack” find, plant officials explained that typically objects entering the wastewater system through a home drain would get caught in the drain trap or discharge hose; become stuck in the sewers directly beneath the house or in city or regional interceptor sewers; or get caught on a screen at the wastewater treatment plant and raked with the rest of the debris by automated equipment into a landfill-bound dumpster.
The Rogers plant is set to be decommissioned in 2031.