A routine sewer inspection turned up startling news yesterday which confirms the suspicions of many in New Albany. Some of the city's sewer pipes are, in fact, gold-lined.
A section of eight inch main showing signs of collapse, a crew was dispatched to repair or at least diagnose the problem. Upon entering a manhole a small section of pipe was removed by Carlton "Wildcat" Figg. "I always wear a carbide head lamp when I go down there and when I shined her on that section, by golly I just knowed it. Only one thing looks like that by carbide light."
It happens that in the early Seventies, New Albany Mayor Warren Nash was an early gold bug. The U.S. had just severed its final ties to the gold standard under Dick Nixon, and "the stuff was so durned cheap" said Nash, "I knew it couldn't last." So with an eye toward New Albany's future, Nash ordered City Controller Kaye Garry to purchase "a couple hundred thousand ounces" for use on a sewer upgrade. Nash said the metal has "excellent corrosion-resistance" and in its un-alloyed state it's "extremely malleable" making it easy for crews to heat the metal and it apply it in various ways to the pipe system as joint filler, as well as an early version of a pipe liner.
Couldn't another metal have performed the same task? "Yes", said Nash but "we had a lot of money in those days, and I knew the stuff was going to be worth a lot some day." Indeed. The roughly 180,000 ounces purchased in 1972 at $35 an ounce is currently valued at $1,115 per ounce or about $200,000,000.
Asked what he would do now if he were mayor, Nash said he would remove the gold, sell some of it to repair broken pipes etc. but always with a wistful eye toward the future he said,"have you seen the charts on Rhodium?"