A B.C. woman has been reunited with her engagement ring after her toddler flushed it down the toilet three years ago, but not before her husband and a worker waded through a septic tank full of waste to find it. 

When Dani Jacobsen's toddler flushed her engagement ring, wedding band, a pair of diamond earrings and a necklace down the toilet three years ago in their Salmon Arm home, she thought she would never see them again.

Jacobsen had taken off her jewelry during bath time with then toddler, Cohen.  When they finished their bath, she couldn't find them.

"We asked Cohen and he took us to the toilet and told us he had flushed it," she said.

"He just kept saying 'flushed Mommy's pretties'"

It turned out Jacobsen's engagement ring was one of many victims in what she calls her toddler's "flushing phase."

A waste of a search

The hunt for the precious possessions started by breaking the toilet apart, said Jacobsen.

"We had actually broken the toilet to see if it was in there and there was nothing."

Then Jacobsen's husband, who is an underground pipe layer by trade, crawled under the house and took apart the pipes below the toilet.

septic tank

Septic tanks are localized sewage systems that some rural households use to treat waste. (Getty Images)

Nothing.

Then he dug up the pipes leading to the septic system next to the house and reached in, trying to find the diamonds. 

Still nothing.

With a broken toilet, a hole in their backyard, and nothing to show for it, the Jacobsens called Reliable Septic Services.

"We rinsed the tank out, pumped it down to a couple of feet, because gravity would take a hold of that ring — and just hours of screening and trying to sift and rinsing," said Jacob Sarnesky, co-owner of Reliable Septic.

He and Jacobsen's husband stood in the waste-filled tank for hours, fishing for the jewels.

"And no luck," said Sarnesky.

'Lo and behold there was the ring'

The family gave up but in the back of Sarnesky's mind, there was a chance the jewellery had gotten stuck somewhere between the toilet and the septic tank.

When he returned three years later to prepare the tank for a house sale, he decided to check.

He stepped into the familiar squelch of the septic tank and started sifting.

"Once I got to the bottom, I took my time a little more, and lo and behold there was the ring."

jacob ring salmon arm

Jacob Sarnesky of Reliable Septic Services (left) greets Dani Jacobsen's parents after finding the lost engagement ring and necklace in a septic tank. (Submitted by Dani Jacobsen)

It was Jacobsen's pendant necklace, wrapped around her engagement ring.

Jacobsen's mother called to tell the good news to her daughter, who had moved to Nanaimo.

"My heart just burst with joy," said Jacobsen.

"We had kind of accepted the fact that we would never see those items again so when my mom told me that Jake had found them, I was beyond grateful."

Sarnesky also found her necklace during that same septic tank expedition.

However, Jacobsen is still missing her wedding band and a pair of diamond earrings.  

"There may be a sequel," said Sarnesky, laughing.


To listen to the full interview, click the link labelled: 'Flushed Mommy's pretties': wedding ring found in toilet 3 years later.