Why is Water a Greener Cremation?
No fossil fuels burned and no greenhouse gases emitted while using one tenth the energy of a
Mirrors mother nature's process of decomposition with organic material reduced to basic building blocks in hours instead of decades
Warm water flow with alkalinity,
sodium and potassium,
decomposition leaving behind
the bone mineral remains
How long has the water cremation (auqamation) process been around?The technology of water cremation has been in use by universities and scientific industries for over 25 years. It has been used for the final disposition of human bodies donated to medical science since 1995. The first pet water cremation facility was opened in 2007, and the first funeral home to use the technology was in 2011.
What happens during the water cremation (aquamation) process?The deceased is respectfully placed in a stainless steel basket that is placed in a sealed stainless steel vessel. A combination of 95% water, 5% alkali, temperature (200-300F), and gentle motion are used to accelerate the natural process of tissue decomposition. All organic materials are reduced to basic building blocks with no DNA or RNA remaining. The sterile processed water is routed for recycling and the inorganic bone minerals remain in the stainless steel basket. The bone minerals are collected, processed into powder, and returned to the family. This process is also known as alkaline hydrolysis.
Is the deceased pet dissolved in acid?This is a common misconception. The water cremation process uses alkali, which is the chemical opposite of acid. Sodium and potassium hydroxide are the alkalis used in the water cremation process. These ingredients are found in common household products like soaps, lotions, and cosmetics.
Are the water cremation ingredients safe for the environment?Yes. The water cremation process uses 95% water and 5% alkalis. The alkalis are safe to handle with standard protective gear. The alkalis are sodium and potassium hydroxide, ingredients found in common household products like lotions, soaps, and cosmetics. When the process completes the alkalis are completely neutralized and no longer present in the water solution.
What happens to the water used in a water cremation?The cremation water output is routed to the water treatment center as a completely sterile mix of water, amino acids, sugars, nutrients, salts, and soap. At funeral homes, the blood and bodily fluids extracted during the embalming process also route to the water treatment center.
How much water is used in the water cremation process?The water cremation process uses less water than a single household uses in one day (source: water.usgs.gov). This includes the water used for the process, along with the after process rinsing of the vessel and final remains.
What happens to metal and medical implants?Metals and medical implants are clean, sterilized, and look brand new when the water cremation process completes. Metals are sent to a metal refinery to be made into new materials. Some medical implants can skip the refinery step and be used again as is.
Are the water cremation cremains safe to handle?Yes. The cremated remains are 100% pathogen and disease free and safe to handle. The cremated remains are bone mineral made of calcium phosphate that will keep in an urn or may be buried or scattered in a special place.
Are the water cremation cremains different than those from flame cremation?The cremains from a flame cremation is often described as “chippy” bone fragments. The cremains from water cremation is a fine powder, similar to flour, with about 20% more remains returned to the family. The color of cremains from a flame process is typically gray due to the carbon discoloration of burning. The color of cremains from a water cremation ranges from white to tan. With both processes, there is variation in color from pet to pet.
How long does the water cremation process take?The water cremation process takes ten to twenty hours. A flame based cremation takes one to three hours. The timing for both processes depends on the size and number of pets. Temperature is a key component in the time factor. Water cremation heats water to 200 to 300 degrees F and flame cremation heats the oven chamber to 1600 to 1800 degrees F.
What is the science behind the water cremation process?With water cremation, also know as alkaline hydrolysis, a base is added to water to create an alkaline environment. This changes the behavior of the water molecules, causing them to disband into hydrogen and hydroxide ions. Pets are more than 65% water along with fat, protein, minerals, and carbohydrates. During the water cremation process, fats are reduced to salts, protein to amino acids and carbohydrates to sugars. The process breaks down organic materials to their most basic building blocks. No trace of protein or nucleic acids (DNA/RNA) remain. When complete the liquid output is 96% water and 4% amino acids, sugars, and salts by weight.