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Aquamation offers alternative to traditional cremation

Published: Oct. 4, 2021 at 1:43 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT/Gray News) – When a loved one dies, aquamation is an alternative method to traditional burials or cremations that is rising in popularity.

Aquamation uses the same natural process of how a body would break down if it were buried, but what would take decades underground happens in less than a day in an aquamation facility.

“When you think about it, we’re born through water. Our bodies are made up of 65 percent water,” Tranquility Cremation by Aquamation owner Eric Bester told WECT. “Aquamation makes sense as far as going out through water.”

Bester explained that cremains are more granular whereas aquamains are smoother, like flour.

The process uses 95 percent water and five percent alkali, not acid, to dissolve the body. The amount of alkali used is determined by the person’s weight.

“It’s like a gentle whirlpool bath,” Bester said. “The gentle circulation of the water over our body is what does the work.”

Bester says 20 percent more of the person’s remains are returned using this process than if they were to go through cremation.

Since aquamation is a zero-emission process with the water byproduct sent to the water treatment plant, Bester said this process is cleaner for the environment than having someone embalmed or cremated.

“Far more sterile than if we were at a funeral home and embalming an individual,” Bester said.

Aquamation is a slower process than cremation, but the outcome for families is nearly the same: a sense of closure after saying goodbye and an urn of ashes to take home.

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