The death of a loved one is a major event that sometimes requires a fast decision. If you don’t want a traditional burial or a cremation, we’re here to tell you that aquamation in California is a legal option.
This post provides an overview of the process of aquamation, as well as highlights its providers and prices in California. It also compares this method of water cremation to the flame cremation process and burial to help you make an informed decision.
What Is Aquamation?
Also known as alkaline hydrolysis, aquamation is an eco-friendly, water-based, and sterile final disposition process that uses alkali to accelerate the decomposition process of the body.
Simply put, aquamation combines temperature, water, and an alkaline environment to break down the body instead of how the flames used in traditional cremation.
Aquamation is a gentle process and is commonly referred to as an eco-friendly alternative to flame cremation. The process works as follows:
- The individual body is respectfully placed in the stainless steel vessel.
- A solution of 95% water and 5% alkali are added to the vessel.
- A combination of gentle water flow, temperature, and alkalinity are used to accelerate the breakdown of organic materials.
- At the end of the process, all organic material is broken down to the smallest building blocks, with no DNA or RNA remaining.
- The sterile process water is released for treatment, and returned back into our eco-system. Only the bone minerals remain.
- The minerals are processed into powder and returned to the family to keep at home, or for a memorial service. Similar to flame-based cremation, the remains are returned in an urn.
Is Aquamation Legal in California?
Yes, aquamation is legal in California as of July 2020 with the passing of bill AB 968.
While it is legal for pets across the 50 states, it’s been recently accepted for humans in 28 states although providers do not exist
In California, aquamation for humans was legalized after passing bill AB 967 under Governor Jerry Brown. This bill was signed in 2017 and enacted in 2020.
Where to Get Aquamation in California?
There are two main providers for the aquamation process in California. (Although there are others that offer pet aquamation.)
- Simply Remembered
Simply Remembered is a small, family-owned business that provides burial, cremation, and aquamation services in California.
It offers tailored plans for green burials, ash-scattering by the sea, and burial at sea. Moreover, it provides some additional services including shrouding, moving, and transportation.
Prices of aquamation services at Simply Remembered prices start at $1450.
- White Rose Aqua Cremation
White Rose Aqua Cremation claims to be the only licensed aqua cremation service provider in the state of California.
This facility handles the entire process from the beginning to the end. It operates in San Diego County.
It offers several packages, including:
- White Rose Direct for $3,950
- Journey Water Release for $4,150
- Quiet Place Desert Memorial for $7,030
- Living Tree Memorial for $9,950
How Much Does Aquamation Cost in California?
Aquamation is more expensive than cremation but cheaper than conventional burial.
Its prices range between $1500 and $9,950 depending on the provider. The more services you add related to the handling of the body or after the resulting ashes are respectively placed in an urn, the more the process costs.
Aquamation is less expensive than burial as it doesn’t require space, material, or embalming. On the other hand, it’s pricier than cremation for two main reasons:
- Aquamation entails more sophisticated machinery.
- There are fewer service providers for aquamation than cremation, which makes it a more expensive service.
What Is the Difference Between Traditional Cremation and Aquamation Ash?
Although the processes are different, both cremation and aquamation leave the same type of ash at the end.
The difference lies in the color of the ash. The ash of aquamation is whiter and smoother than the grayish ash you get from cremation.
Aquamation vs. Cremation
Comparing both processes, you’ll get dazzling results in favor of the relatively new process of Aquamation:
- More Environmentally Friendly
Unlike cremation, aquamation isn’t at all harmful to the environment. Cremation burns fossil fuels and produces harmful greenhouse gasses.
- More Energy Efficient
Using water instead of fire has a lower carbon footprint. With 100% zero emissions, aquamation saves up to 90% of energy.
- More Remaining Ashes
Aquamation allows you to hold on to more remains. On average, it renders around 20 to 30% more ashes than cremation.
Aquamation vs. Burial
Several factors make aquamation a potentially better choice than traditional burial, such as:
- Less Space
Aquamation takes up less space than traditional underground burial. Conventional burial may take up to one million acres of land.
In this respect, aquamation is a very efficient option that doesn’t require much ground space.
- Less Contamination
Burials might cause the contamination of water tables. That contamination happens if the buried body has a contagious disease and releases harmful bacteria, viruses, or medication.
Comparatively, the remains from aquamation are sterile and therefore do not pose a contamination risk to the soil, the water, and mother earth in general.
- Less Toxicity
Embalming is the process of injecting the dead body with chemicals to slow down the decay process, giving the body a more lively look. Unfortunately, this process can be toxic.
The chemicals used for embalming include formaldehyde, which can be carcinogenic in high concentrations. In addition, the fumes emitting from those chemicals can irritate the throat, nose, and eyes.
On the other hand, aquamation doesn’t entail any harmful chemicals and thus isn’t toxic.
- Less Required Material
Aquamation doesn’t require many materials. On the contrary, burial takes about 30 million feet of wood every year to make caskets.
That’s equivalent to four million acres of forests. Imagine how many homes we can build with all that wood.
- More of a Memory
Both aquamation and burial give you the opportunity to create a memorial. With traditional burial you can choose a plot at a cemetery. Whereas with aquamated remains, you can choose to spread ashes something meaningful for you or choose something like Better Place Forests for a protected memorial.
If this alternative to fire cremation appeals to you, then you should inquire at any of the aqua cremation services in California that we’ve listed above. In general, this flameless cremation is greener and and more gentle than traditional cremation and burial.
By mimicking the natural process of tissue hydrolysis, this is a relatively new and popular method of final disposition of human bodies that is both gentle and eco-friendly.
Contact us if you’d like to learn more!