A New 'Greener' Way To Cremate

An Aquamation machine at White Rose Aqua Cremations.Photo: Jane Wells

When you hear the word 'cremation', like most people, you probably envision fire.

Well, a local cremation company wants to change that vision.

White Rose Aqua Cremation in Escondido wants to give you a greener option when the time comes for you or your loved one.

It's called "aquamation" or "alkaline hydrolysis", a new type of cremation that uses water instead of fire.

Here's how it works. A body is placed into the aquamation machine, which looks like this when the door is open.

A look inside an aquamation machine at White Rose Aqua Cremation.Photo: Jane Wells

Jane Wells explains how the aquamation process works in her Wells Street Bulletin.

"Remains are put in a tube which is sealed before about 100 gallons of water flow in. The water is mixed with potassium hydroxide flakes until 5% of the solution is made up of the alkaline organic compound. Then the tube is pressurized and the temperature raised to between 200 and 300 degrees. Because of the seal and pressure, the water never actually boils.
The water begins moving through the system at the speed of a meandering stream. The heated, moving alkaline solution dissolves human fats, proteins and carbohydrates into salt, amino acids and sugar. The apparatus is tilted at an angle to let gravity help drain the effluent.
Once the process ends, you're left with skeletal remains which are then dried and ground into a fine powder. Fun fact: you end up with more "ash" than a traditional flame cremation."

David Perfito and his business partner Phil Barrick, opened White Rose Aqua Cremations a year ago, right when a law legalizing aquamation for human disposal was set to take effect in California. But they haven't been able to open for customers yet because California's public health officials haven't allowed them to move forward despite having the law on their side and the blessing of local agencies.

Jane spoke to Phil Barrick of White Rose Aqua Cremations about the situation, check out that interview below.

Read Jane's full story on aquamation.

Check out Wells Street, a Facebook Bulletin that offers a fresh take on business news, produced by Jane Wells!

Inside the inner chamber of the aquamation machine where the deceased is placed at White Rose Aqua Cremation.

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