Ring found in MN wastewater treatment plant returned to owner

Back in March, the employees went to social media in hopes of finding the rightful owner describing the dirty discovery, “like a needle in a haystack.”

ROGERS, Minn. — After nearly 13 years, a person who lost something very special has it back on their finger thanks to a sparkle in some sewage and some empathetic employees at a Minnesota plant.

The woman, Mary Strand, met with reporters Wednesday to share her unlikely story, during which she laughed… a LOT. 

Back in March, a diamond ring was discovered at a regional water treatment plant in Rogers.

John Tierney, a mechanical maintenance manager for The Metropolitan Council’s nine wastewater treatment plants, and a few coworkers were shoveling debris from the equipment when Tierney spotted the ring.

They went to social media in hopes of finding the rightful owner describing the dirty discovery, “like a needle in a haystack.”

But they were pretty confident the unique design of the diamond ring could be the key to finding their mysterious ring flusher.

And sure enough, the “precious” ring was reunited.

Mary told reporters on that fateful day she was using the downstairs bathroom in their home, washed her hands and was going to flush the toilet. At that moment the ring, which was given to her as a 33rd anniversary present by her husband Dave, slipped off her hand and plunged to the bottom of the toilet bowl. 

“It was swirling around, I truly dove for it, and it went down the drain,” she recalled. 

The now-ringless Mary jumped on the phone and quickly called Dave, who in the irony of ironies, owns a drain and sewer company. He finished a call he was on, returned home and removed the toilet to see if the ring was stuck inside it. Finding nothing, they then used a camera to search 200 feet of sewer line. 

“I was thinking, ‘He’ll never buy me another ring,’ that’s what I was thinking,” Mary said with a huge laugh. “I felt really bad, because it was a gift.” 

That’s where Tierney and the wastewater crew came in with their proverbial capes on. While cleaning muck from a machine they spotted a sparkle of light that turned out to be a diamond on Mary’s lost anniversary ring. 

Officials say hundreds of people who had lost rings contacted the Met Council after stories about the ring ran in early April. 

They had the hopeful owners submit photos of the ring. Officials say “only one photo, however, looked like a match,” according to the news release.

Two local jewelers examined that photo with the actual ring and both said it was “highly likely” that it was a match. 

Afterward, came forward to get the ring and told officials the ring “had been lost almost 13 years ago.”

By the way, the water treatment plant in Rogers where Mary’s ring was found is located on Diamond Lake Road. Coincidence? We think not. 

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