Council will ‘water cremate’ bodies and flush the remains

0
28


Unless you plan to blast the ashes off into space, most of us opt for a simple burial or cremation when it comes to saying goodbye to a loved one.

But soon there could be another option in the pipeline.

A crematorium is hoping to be the first in the UK to dispose of the dead by liquefying them – and flushing the dissolved matter down the drain.

In the eco-friendly ‘water cremation’, the body is placed into a steel torpedo-like chamber where it is dissolved in an alkaline solution heated to 152C.

Rowley Regis crematorium in the West Midlands is hoping to adopt the £300,000 technique – already used in parts of the US – after being given planning permission by councillors.

Water cremation involves putting a body is put into a steel vat with an alkaline solution that accelerates the natural breakdown of the body, turning all but bones into liquid that can be poured down a drain. Pictured above, a Resomator used during for the water cremation

Water cremation involves putting a body is put into a steel vat with an alkaline solution that accelerates the natural breakdown of the body, turning all but bones into liquid that can be poured down a drain. Pictured above, a Resomator used during for the water cremation

However, the scheme is being blocked by water company Severn Trent which is refusing to grant a ‘trade effluent’ permit. Bosses at the utility say the document only covers waste disposal – not dissolved bodies.

Water UK, which represents suppliers, said the public may also find the idea of human remains going into the water system ‘distasteful’.

The process takes place in a machine known as the Resomator, which turns corpses into softened bone and a tea-coloured liquid in just over three hours. The bones are ground to powder and given to the family in an urn while the rest of the liquid – about 330 gallons – is flushed down the drain.

UK company Resomation, which builds the machines in West Yorkshire, said ‘dozens’ of crematoria across the UK had shown an interest in installing the technology.

Founder Sandy Sullivan said he hoped the first water cremations would begin around late spring.

The 61-year-old biochemist told The Sunday Times: ‘There is no technical reason why the liquid can’t go down the drain. It is a very treatable organic liquid. It is sterile and there is no DNA in it. We are copying nature. The body dissolves by soil bacteria and it is a very long process. All we are doing is taking the exact same chemistry and applying heat, which speeds it up.

Dean Fisher, director of the Donated Body Program at UCLA, shows off a machine called a Resomator which completes a water cremation

Dean Fisher, director of the Donated Body Program at UCLA, shows off a machine called a Resomator which completes a water cremation

Dean Fisher, director of the Donated Body Program at UCLA, shows off a machine called a Resomator which completes a water cremation

The process is considered to be a new way to 'green-ify' death, as concern grows over the carbon footprint that is left by burials and standard cremations (file photo of a cemetery)

The process is considered to be a new way to 'green-ify' death, as concern grows over the carbon footprint that is left by burials and standard cremations (file photo of a cemetery)

The process is considered to be a new way to ‘green-ify’ death, as concern grows over the carbon footprint that is left by burials and standard cremations (file photo of a cemetery)

‘This is a third option, other than cremation and burial.’ However, a source at Water UK said: ‘We are not convinced and believe the technology needs to be explored in much greater depth.

‘This is an absolute first in the UK. We have serious concerns about the public acceptability of this. It is the liquefied remains of the dead going into the water system. We don’t think the public will like the idea.’

Sandwell council in Oldbury, West Midlands said: ‘The funeral industry is evolving and modernising and we want to offer people more choice. Water cremation is the next phase in this evolution and would give people a more environmentally-friendly option.’

Resomation has sold four of the machines to the US – in Florida, Minnesota, California and Chicago. In one funeral home in Florida it is advertised online as the ‘new flameless cremation option’ which gives the relative a way to ‘honour your loved one in a way that’s right for you’.

Another innovation in eco-burial involves a process called Promession, or freeze-drying. Invented by a Swede, the corpse is immersed in liquid nitrogen to make it brittle. Vibrations shake the body apart and the powdered remains are then laid to rest in a shallow grave.





Source link

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here