It had been through the wastewater treatment plant countless times when Ron Waters noticed it.
Earlier this month, Waters, a water services technician for College Station, was almost done washing down a debris slab at the Carters Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant when a sparkle of light caught his eye.
"The stuff on the slab is not supposed to shine," Waters said. "I reached down and sure enough, there it was -- a woman's Aggie ring."
The ring belonged to Megan Marie Hubbard, a 2011 Texas A&M graduate who lost her ring two weeks before graduating when it fell into a toilet and flushed automatically before she could retrieve it. Almost two-and-a-half years later, the ring's shimmering diamond set Waters on a path to reunite it with its owner.
The Association of Former Students helps use its records on Aggienetwork.com to reunite lost rings with their owners. Kathryn Greenwade, vice president of the Association of Former Students, said dozens of Aggie rings are lost and stolen each year, and they've been able to return rings that have been lost for decades.
When Waters called Hubbard to tell her the ring had been found, he began by verifying who she was. Waters said she was suspicious when she verified her name and graduation year, but those suspicions gave way to excitement when she realized what he'd found.
"I said, 'I think I found something of yours -- did you lose something before you graduated?'" Waters said. "It was silence over the phone for five or 10 seconds before she said, 'You found my ring!' I could hear whimpering or crying."
Waters said Hubbard's grandfather bought the ring for her. It was cleaned, sanitized and mailed back to her.
The ring could've been filtered from anywhere in the city, and it had been through the wastewater treatment plant several times since Hubbard graduated.
Waters wasn't looking for diamonds in the rough, but he said he's found unusual items while cleaning the slab, a 40-foot-by-60-foot space that takes several hours to wash down. It was the first Aggie ring he's found there, but he said jewelry and money can often be spotted.
Hubbard's ring was sitting right on the edge of the slab's drain, so close to falling in that Waters said the smallest nudge would've sent it whirling through the wastewater system again.
"We don't make a point to really look close to see what we can find," Waters said. "It was just that one day, and I looked down and saw it there."