Drains whisk away all the stuff we may rather not think about, from dirty water in our toilet and washing machine to soap and hair. Over the years, plumbers, sewage workers and curious homeowners have stumbled upon some strange and unexpected items lurking in drains.
It is a tale that never gets old. A panicked homeowner drops an expensive piece of jewellery down the drain, fearing it is lost forever, but luck can sometimes be on their side. Skilled plumbers have retrieved engagement rings, necklaces and even valuable watches from the depths of kitchen sinks or bathroom drains.
Dentures seem like the last thing anyone would flush down a toilet or wash down a sink, but it happens more often than you might think.
Toys and gadgets
Children have an uncanny knack for losing toys in the most improbable places. Action figures, rubber ducks and even electronic gadgets have found their way into drains.
From goldfish and turtles to more unexpected creatures such as snakes and small lizards, homeowners have had some jaw-dropping encounters when drain-cleaning crews unearthed their missing pets or wildlife visitors. In Northern Ireland, even an eel was found in a wastewater treatment site.
Cash and coins
Money down the drain is typically an idiom referring to wasteful spending, but it is sometimes taken quite literally. People accidentally drop coins and notes, which can accumulate in the plumbing over time. In some cases, diligent plumbers have uncovered significant sums of money.
In the age of smartphones, it is easy to become distracted; sometimes, this distraction leads to a phone accidentally going down the toilet or drain. Plumbers and sewer workers have reported finding perfectly functioning phones when trying to fix blocked drains.
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While hunting for treasure in drains might not be a conventional hobby, it has yielded unexpected riches for a few lucky individuals. Antique coins, jewellery and other valuable artefacts have been discovered during drain inspections.