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Alkaline hydrolysis is facing challenges in Orange County

Alkaline hydrolysis continues to be an issue of contention, currently in California. The safety of the byproduct’s disposal down the drain is now being debated in Orange County, threatening a local pet water cremation business. The liquid that remains is sterile and ph neutral. Municipal water treatment officials confirm the effluent is some of the cleanest of all the material that we put down our drains everyday. Flushing organic waste, human or animal is not something new as it happens daily in our homes as well as butcher shops, farms, hospitals, and funeral homes where blood removed from the body during embalming is disposed of along with the more toxic associated embalming fluids.

Alkaline hydrolysis, which has been a common practice in the farming industry for years, is gaining popularity as a method for disposing of human remains. It is now available in 13 states. The Mayo clinic has used the process for bodies donated for research since 2005, but there remains a certain portion of the public that finds the process distasteful. From the Orange County Register:

Dean Fisher pioneered the technology on humans at the Mayo Clinic and now runs the only approved human unit in California. He took issue with the proposed ban. The water is safe, he said, and tests would show that.

“They haven’t done their homework,” said Fisher, who now runs a water cremation unit at UCLA’s Donated Body Program. “I just don’t get it. Most of these individuals are scientists; they have water backgrounds. They would just have to look at the test data from people running it.”

At the end families are given back the processed bone just as they would in flame cremation. The remains look like pure white sand.


***Update 1.18.18***

Alkaline hydrolysis in Orange County prevails!  The sanitation department decided not to let perceived “ickiness” color their judgement. Read more here.


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One Comment

E.E. Guss

Good grief! Where does the effluent from diaper laundries end up? How about hospital wash? What about power-washing cars and engine blocks? Are people even half as crazed about the the potential damage from that stuff? Alkaline hydrolysis leaves one with bones and the original potassium hydroxide solution (pH = 14), along with salts and sugars from the dissolved tissues. It is reported to smell a bit soapy, but it’s see-through. It is low carbon out-put; cheap; has no odors. Send my corpse to MN, please! Or I’ll move there before I get any older…

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