Ring rescued for foul fate

October 14, 1997


Staff Writer

A Hagerstown woman thinks there are angels watching over the city's sewer system.

Water Pollution Control crews returned a 21/2-carat diamond ring worth several thousand dollars to the woman after checking the sewer pipes for three weeks, said George Fischer, collection system superintendent.

The woman, who did not want to be identified, said she lost the ring in September after she accidentally flushed it down a toilet at work. She had cleaned the ring and left it to dry in some toilet paper, then forgetting what it was, flushed it, she said.

After discovering a plumber couldn't help, the woman called the Water Pollution Control Department, which put a screen across the sewage pipe leaving the business.


One out of 10 times something is accidentally flushed down a commercial line, it can be found, Fischer said. It's less likely from a residence because there usually aren't manholes near the home, he said.

When the ring didn't turn up after several days, the woman said she flushed six quarters down the toilet in an effort to jar the ring loose in case it was stuck.

The city crews flushed the line with 400 pounds of pressure to clear it, Fischer said. If it had been the 1,500 pounds of pressure normally used for flushing, the ring's three stones might have come loose, he said.

The ring was recovered, although slightly damaged, the woman said.

In appreciation, the woman sent a check for $1,000 to the Water Pollution Control Department, but the department returned the check.

The crew kept the quarters when they turned up, Fischer said. He said he would not recommend flushing coins.

Fischer wrote the woman, suggesting she give the money to charity.

She said she is still deciding where to send the money.

City crews have recovered jewelry and coins from the sewer system before, Fischer said. They once found a set of false teeth.

The Herald-Mail Articles