How to Recover Lost Jewelry From a Septic Tank

Jewelry is often lost in drain pipes.
Jewelry is often lost in drain pipes. (Image: Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Everyone's worst nightmare, a prized diamond ring flushed down a drain. Many homeowners quickly conclude their precious jewelry is lost forever. That conclusion may not be the case. Many plumbers have become experts at finding lost jewelry. Water traps attached to the drain will often catch jewelry before it reaches further into the plumbing system. If the jewelry has made the trip to the septic tank, a messy job awaits. Before starting this job, make sure the jewelry owner wants his property back.

Things You'll Need

  • Metal detector
  • Scoop
  • Bucket of water

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Contract a septic tank maintenance company to pump the septic tank. Be sure to specify you will need the waste "field applied" and that you will be searching for a lost item.

Watch the septic tank's bottom while the sewage is being removed. Heavy metals will sink to the bottom of the tank and may be in the sludge underneath the inlet pipe of the tank.

Follow the septic tank truck to the application site the company uses, if you didn't find the jewelry at the bottom of the tank. Septic companies contract with landowners who own specially approved land for septic tank waste applications.

Allow the septic pump truck to spread the septic waste on the soil.

Mark the area where the truck has spread the waste with flags.

Allow the soil to dry.

Walk back and forth across the marked area with a metal detector waiting for a signal that metal is present.

Use a scoop to pick up metal items and clean them in the bucket of water.

Continue this process until you find the jewelry.

Tips & Warnings

  • Septic waste has lime added to it before it is field applied to raise the pH for pathogen reduction. Lime can cause burns, so only trained personnel should be anywhere near while the lime is applied.
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