OXFORD, Ala. (WIAT) — Simply put, the thought of death and what’s on the other side can be overwhelming, and the decision to be buried or cremated can add to that pressure.
However, Miller Funeral Home in Oxford has another option to help loved ones and their families navigate that difficult decision.
“Aquamation, the technical term being alkaline hydrolysis, uses water, a low temperature and a safe alkaline solution to perform a cremation,” said Amber Danelutt, funeral director and cremationist for Miller Funeral Home.
Miller is currently the only funeral home in Alabama to offer the service. To do so, they use a machine from Bio-Response Solutions, providing the same result of cremation, but through more eco-friendly means.
“It does not use any fossil fuels whatsoever,” Danelutt said. “It uses water and a couple of very safe chemicals that are found in everyday products, in the soil. The water is just sent back to our water treatment plant, so it is sterile once it leaves here after the process is done.”
Danelutt said the local water treatment plant sends back certain elements, such as salts and fats, that actually help the home with aquamation.
The process can even provide more humanistic benefits, returning 20% more of a loved one’s ashes to each family and providing peace of mind to people who may have hesitations about traditional means of cremation:
“We are also in the south right in the middle of the Bible Belt, a lot of people say, ‘I spent my whole life trying to stay out of hell – I don’t want to be burnt in the end,'” she said.
Danelutt and the staff at Miller Funeral homes invested in the device hoping the method catches on.
“We do believe more people will go the cremation route and we know people want to do their part to help save the world,” Danelutt said. “We figured we would start right here in Oxford, Alabama and do this eco-friendly cremation so that people have that option as a final form of disposition.”
And if you weren’t already sold, the aquamation process is easier on the wallet, too.
“Right now, our aquamations start at $1,295 dollars while our traditional flame cremations starts at $2,395,” Danelutt explained. “So the aquamation is less expensive right now.”