Skip to main content

Successful Study of Water Cremation completed for Yorkshire Water

UK’s first wastewater discharge consent granted for environmentally friendly process

Following a successful study, the UK’s first ‘wastewater consent to discharge’ has been granted for the water cremation process, the environmentally friendly alternative to flame cremation or burial. Yorkshire Water has granted the consent, opening the way for water cremation consent applications from across the country. The widespread introduction of water cremation would be a significant step in the funeral industry’s efforts to reduce its impact on climate change.

Samples from five UK water cremations conducted in April 2019 were analysed against a range of organic, inorganic and microbial parameters by Yorkshire Water, with the results assessed by experts at Middlesex University. The results show that water cremation poses no concern for sewer systems, wastewater treatment works and their related operations and receiving water quality. No DNA was found to be present in any of the samples. Yorkshire Water has subsequently granted a consent to discharge for water cremation to Leeds-based LBBC Ltd, the parent company of Resomation Ltd which is behind water cremation worldwide.

Water cremation is the new, sustainable alternative to traditional flame cremation. Giving people a new choice at the end of life, water cremation is an environmentally friendly option that accelerates the natural process using water instead of flame to reduce the body to ash. Water cremation is currently offered in the USA and is expected to be introduced in further countries across the world in the near future as a sustainable alternative to flame cremation or burial.

The results from the sample analysis were assessed by Lian Lundy, Professor of Environmental Science in the Urban Pollution Research Centre at Middlesex University. Commenting on the study, she said: “We worked closely with Yorkshire Water to set the sampling methodologies and parameters to ensure they were in line with the UK’s water industry. For the first time, we now have robust comparable scientific data on water cremation using standard sampling procedures and analytical methods.

“The results from the samples indicate that there is no technical reason why the liquid from water cremation cannot be discharged to sewer for processing by standard water treatment methods.”

Howard Pickard, Managing Director of Resomation Ltd, said: “Water cremation provides a gentler end-of-life alternative and has a crucial role to play in reducing the environmental impact of the funeral sector. The positive findings from the UK’s first study of its type into the impact of the water cremation process on the wastewater treatment system will allow the water industry to make a more informed decision when dealing with consent applications.

“The granting of the first consent to discharge by Yorkshire Water represents a major milestone for water cremation in the UK. Having demonstrated that the issuing of a water consent is a realistic possibility, Resomation will now work with those interested in providing water cremation and, together, engage with their respective water companies through the application process. This news will also be welcomed by the many organisations across the UK who wish to offer this environmentally friendly alternative to flame cremation to the public.”

Funeral industry titles Funeral Directory Monthly, Funeral Services Journal and the Resurgam Magazine have all covered our story. To read these articles, please click on the hyperlinks.

For more information about water cremation or on the report, please email [email protected].