You know there are a few different kinds of cremation services in Newtown, PA, but did you know there’s a new kind called aquamation?
Water cremation, sometimes referred to as aquamation, is a process that breaks down a body after death. It involves water, heat and chemicals, unlike standard cremation that just uses heat. The aquamation process is actually quite simple. During the process the body is placed in a steel chamber. The chamber is then filled with an alkaline solution made up of 95% water and 5% potassium hydroxide and raised to a very high pressure to prevent boiling.
The chamber, and the body in the solution, is then heated to around 350 degrees Fahrenheit for an extended period of time, from 4 to 16 hours. The heat, pressure and solution work together to break down the body, leaving only the bones. The body slowly dissolves, and the bones, once removed from the chamber, crushed into ash and returned to the family just like in a traditional cremation. As the water left over an aquamation no longer contains any alkalis, it can be returned to the natural ecosystem just like water from a sink or a toilet – through the standard wastewater treatment facility.
Aquamation does not use acid to dissolve the body. There is no acid used in an aquamation. In fact, the process of alkaline hydrolysis uses a material called an alkali, which is actually the exact opposite of an acid. The combination of chemicals and water work together to naturally dissolve the body without the use of acid.
Aquamation is definitely safe for the environment. This is because the solution used in aquamation, a mixture of 95% water and 5% alkali, is completely natural and safe. And, even if it wasn’t, by the end of the aquamation process the alkalis are completely used up. So, all that remains at the end of an aquamation is water, bones and dust.
What about aquamation remains? Just like cremated remains, aquamation remains are 100% safe as they are simply a mixture of bone materials, minerals, and calcium phosphate. They are also disease and pathogen-free, which makes them, in many ways, safer to handle and be around than a dead body. Since aquamation ashes are very similar to remains left after a standard cremation they can be treated like standard cremation ashes. However, aquamation remains are much lighter in color and in texture than classic cremated remains. Cremated remains made from flames are often darker and denser from the various combustion reactions that occur when the body is heated under extreme temperatures. They can be kept in an urn, buried in the ground, or scattered in a special place.
Aquamation is still fairly new and is not readily available everywhere. Standard cremations are still excellent choices for final body disposition.