A Livermore woman who accidentally flushed her wedding ring down the toilet thought her chances of ever seeing it again had also gone down the drain, but with a lot of luck and hard work on behalf of the Livermore Public Works Department, the owner was reunited with her beloved band last week.
Jenna Madrid -- who's owned the round-cut diamond and white gold ring for about three years -- told the Weekly, "I was holding it and it just slipped out of my hand" and fell in as the toilet was flushing, back in early September.
At first, Madrid and her husband hired a plumber but were told nothing could be done. Madrid had almost accepted the ring's fate until a friend recently suggested contacting the city of Livermore's wastewater treatment facility, where the friend thought the ring may have ended up.
On her friend's advice, Madrid called the city last week and asked if they could help at all, according to public works supervisor Michael Wells.
Though it's not common for residents to reach out about personal items getting lost in the sewer, "We probably get one of these calls every five to 10 years," Wells said.
"A lot of the time, they call on that day (the item disappears). The fact that it was 2-1/2 months ago, the chances of retrieving it were slim to none."
"To me, to the crew, and obviously the homeowner, we still can't believe it," he added.
It just so happens that Livermore work crews regularly clean the city's sewer mains with specialized "hydrovac" trucks that use a hydraulic hose to flush the mains clean and a suction hose for vacuuming any loose materials.
Coincidentally, the crew had also been working in Madrid's neighborhood around Park and P streets the day before she called for help and had already collected several debris piles.
Working on a "hunch," Wells said several wastewater staff members used a metal detector to sift through the piles and quickly got several hits on the detector that helped narrow down their search area.
Within roughly 30 minutes, the crew noticed a shiny diamond and "shockingly" retrieved the ring.
The ring was returned to Madrid, who "thought it was pretty crazy," Wells added. "She thought it was going to be no way."
Madrid concurred: "I was definitely shocked and definitely thought a miracle just happened."
"The Livermore workers went out of their way to look for (the ring)," she said. "They definitely didn't have to do what they did. They have good karma coming their way."