Canadian Consulting Engineer

Funeral home dissolves bodies and releases to sewer

June 23, 2016

Staff in the town of Smith Falls near Lake Ontario have been monitoring the water discharged into the sewer from a new type of funeral home.

The Aquagreen Dispositions funeral company uses an alkaline hydrolysis system that dissolves the body and leaves just the skeleton.

The process is said to be environmentally friendly because it uses less chemicals than traditional funeral services, and uses far less electricity than cremation. The water-based process uses about the same electricity as a refrigerator.

Bodies are treated in a solution of water, potash and salt inside a heated and pressurized machine that sounds like a washing machine. After about two hours everything but the bones has been dissolved, and the dark liquid that remains passes through two filters, then goes into the city sewer.


The bones are then dried and pressed into a fine white powder that weighs up to five kilograms and can be returned to the family. About 280 litres of the alkaline water solution are needed for each operation.

In an article in the Toronto Star, Troy Dunlop, the director of public works and utilities at Smith Falls said that though they were concerned about the process when it began operating in May 2015, they have had no problems and the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change has given approval. Saskatchewan and Quebec have approved the process also.

Dale Hilton who owns Aquagreen Dispositions says the process just speeds up the natural process of disintegration.

To read an article in the CBC News, click here.

To read an article in the Toronto Star, click here.



Stories continue below

Print this page

Related Stories