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Image: King County Dept. of Natural Resources and Parks
Image: King County Dept. of Natural Resources and Parks

Seattle’s plentiful canals, beaches, lakes, bridges, and streams are a haven for water Pokémon—good news for trainers searching for elusive Staryu and Magikarp.

But for the King County Wastewater Treatment Division, all the attention is quickly becoming a headache.

The King County WTD issued a side-achingly funny statement this week, warning citizens to stay away from treatment centers lest they wind up floating in a sewer, or falling victim to any number of other dangers that untrained personnel may encounter in these areas.

The game’s popularity, and its knack for completely distracting players from their surroundings, is causing health and safety concerns across the board—particularly after two hikers fell off a 50 foot cliff while playing the game.

Read the full letter here:

A few weeks ago, Nintendo awakened the ‘90s kid in all of us when it released its newest interactive mobile game,Pokémon Go. While it’s thrilling to see technology getting people outside and exercising, remember that you can’t always go where the Pokémon are.

Within a few days of the game’s release, reports described people becoming dangerously involved in the game and getting hurt. Others have been caught disregarding “No Trespassing” and other warning signs and entering private property or places where it isn’t safe for them to be.

King County’s wastewater treatment plants, facility sites, and construction areas are places that are off limits to the public regardless of the Pokémon creature your app says is lurking there. The people authorized to be in these places are trained and equipped to stay safe. Players can also disrupt work. Our contractors and operators are building and operating a large regional wastewater system.  They’re not on site to battle trainers trying to nab Pikachu.

More importantly, you and your friends could get seriously hurt and reduce your human hit points if you venture into one of our facilities. You know that terrible feeling you get when you accidentally drop your phone in the toilet? Imagine if you fell into a wastewater tank! Like one unfortunate trespasser learned, you certainly won’t come out smelling like perfume, and you might catch more than Dragonite or Mewtwo.

So whether you’re new to the game or have a lot of experience points, obey warning signs at our facilities, don’t venture into places you’re not supposed to go, and listen to our employees. You may know more about battling, but they know more about keeping you safe.

So, #GoCatchEmAll! – just not here at King County’s wastewater facilities and construction sites.

And while we’re having this little chat, please don’t flush Poké balls.

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