Aquamation; is it legal and available in your state?

Aquamation is increasing in popularity all over the world, especially after headlines were made that human rights activist Desmund Tutu opted for a water cremation rather than a traditional burial or flame cremation earlier this year. Despite its increase in popularity, lawmakers worldwide are still debating over whether to legalize the practice.

What is aquamation?

Aquamation, or water cremation, is a process to dispose of human or animal remains using lye and heat. It is a natural and green method that is considered to be one of the most environmentally friendly alternatives to traditional burial or cremation options. Read more about the benefits and the process here.

Aquamation of human remains is a relatively new practice, which subsequently results in many questions about the legality of the practice. To make things a little easier, we have compiled a list of where aquamation is already legal in the United States and which states are currently still reviewing the practice.

Is aquamation legal in the United States?

Yes, aquamation or water cremation is legal in the United States, though it is good to note that each state has different laws and regulations, which means that it is not legal in every state.

For pets and animals, aquamation is legal in all 50 states. However, for human remains, aquamation is legal in only approximately 20 states. Whereas some states, such as Minnesota, have already legalized the practice as early as 2003, other states like New York are currently still reviewing the practice.

Even though it has proven to be a safe and environmentally-friendly solution to traditional methods, several third parties such as casket companies and the Catholic Church have tried to halt the legalization of alkaline hydrolysis all over the United States. Nevertheless, with the increase in popularity, it would be surprising that aquamation would not become legal in more states.

At Insurance Funerals, we have compiled a list of where aquamation is legal, so you can easily find out if there are aquamation services available near you.

Is Aquamation legal in my state?

  • Alabama - Aquamation was legalized in Alabama in 2017. They legalized aquamation by adding alkaline hydrolysis to their definition of cremation in general.
  • California - Aquamation was legalized in California by explicit statute in 2017.
  • Colorado - Aquamation was legalized in Colorado when it changed its definition of cremation to include water cremation.
  • Florida - Aquamation has been legal in Florida since 2014. They authorized aquamation by expanding the definition of "cremation" to include other methods other than traditional flame cremations.
  • Georgia - Georgia legalized aquamation in 2012, also by changing the state's definition of cremation.
  • Idaho - Aquamation was explicitly legalized in Idaho in 2014. The Senate Commerce & Human Resources Committee adopted the process in a docket that amended the Rules of the State Board of Morticians.
  • Illinois - Aquamation was legalized in Illinois in 2012 when the legislature redefined "cremation" to include aquamation specifically.
  • Kansas - Kansas legalized aquamation in 2011 when the state broadened its definition of cremation to include methods other than "direct exposure to intense heat and flame."
  • Maine - Aquamation was legalized in Maine in 2009 when the Maine Attorney General approved a new definition of cremation in the Maine Rules for Establishment and Operation of Crematoria.
  • Maryland - Maryland legalized aquamation in 2010 when the state explicitly defined cremation to include processes other than heat and flame.
  • Michigan - Aquamation appears to be already happening in Michigan, but there are no statutes or regulations that explicitly legalize water cremation in Michigan.
  • Minnesota - Aquamation has been legal in Minnesota since 2003.
  • Missouri - In Missouri, aquamation or flameless creation is legal.
  • North Carolina - In North Carolina, aquamation has been legal since October 1, 2018.
  • Nevada - Nevada legalized Aquamation in 2017.
  • Oregon - Aquamation was legalized in Oregon in 2009.
  • Utah - Utah passed a bill explicitly allowing for aquamation in 2018.
  • Vermont - Aquamation was legalized in Vermont in 2014.
  • Washington - Aquamation has been legal in Washington since 2020.
  • Wyoming - In 2014, Wyoming legalized aquamation.

The following states are in the process of creating aquamation regulations:

  • Arizona
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Texas

Is aquamation available near me?

Whereas aquamation is legal in approximately 20 states, not all states currently provide aquamation services yet. In some cases, the nearest provider may be in a neighbouring state. We, therefore, recommend enlisting the help of a third party, like Insurance Funerals, to help you connect with the right parties.

Insurance Funerals helps you arrange the burial or cremation process of your choice. For more questions about the current legality of aquamation in your state or area, or any other questions about aquamation, feel free to fill in our contact form. Our team is happy to provide you with more information.