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Seattle Public Utilities rescue two goldfish from storm basin

SPU Senior Environmental Compliance Inspector Eric Autry with the fish in their new home. (Photo: SPU)

Compared to a fish bowl, storm water catch basins are pretty roomy for a goldfish, though the view isn’t as good. And so the ones living in the basin near Stevens Elementary on Capitol Hill were probably wondering why they were being rescued.

On Friday, Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) successfully rescued a pair of goldfish who were calling the catch basin their home. It wasn’t nearly as difficult or dramatic as the recent Thai cave rescue. Workers simply lowered a long pole with a net and scooped them out to the cheers of onlookers.

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SPU didn’t relocate the basin residents for squatting-related reasons; rather, they were concerned about the goldfish’s health.

“When fall rains come, these goldfish would likely be washed away into Lake Washington and may not survive the trip down the pipes,” said SPU Senior Environmental Compliance Inspector Eric Autry. “Believe it or not, goldfish are an invasive species, and we want to prevent the introduction of invasive species into our local water bodies. Plus, we could use some company around the office.”

The goldfish likely wound up in the basin as the result of being dumped by an owner who apparently doesn’t own a toilet. SPU first learned of the goldfish from the Capitol Hill Seattle blog, when they reported on the fish becoming a bit of a campus mascot for the little kids low enough to the ground to see them.

Stevens Elementary will have to find another mascot, as the little fishies were transported to SPU’s Ballard Operations Building, where they’re living in a much smaller, but cleaner fish tank. The staff have named them Fish and Chips, which is probably not comforting to the fish.

If you have a goldfish that you’re looking to get rid of without making the news, the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife offers advice on how to properly “break up with your goldfish” at

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