Smiths Falls, Ont., funeral business dissolves the dead, pours them into town sewers


Since the beginning of time, people have died. And, until science figures out a way to keep us all alive indefinitely, people will continue to die. Bodies, even the healthiest, wear out. And when those bodies wear out, you have to have a plan. Some people choose to be buried and others choose to be cremated. But it seems you now have a third option and it’s an environmentally friendly option. (I was unaware, until I wrote this story, that funeral homes here in the U.S. also use this process. You can check out a video at the bottom of the page for more info.)

In a small town outside of Ottawa, a funeral company- the first of its kind in Ontario- uses an alkaline solution to dissolve human remains. From there it’s quite simple: the dead are dissolved and then simply drained into the sewer system. While it might sound disgusting and totally irreverent, according to Aquagreen Dispositions it’s a great alternative to the “energy-using flame-based cremation process.”1

The owner, Dale Hilton, who is from a family of funeral home operators, says,

“It brings your body back to its natural state. It’s the same way as being buried in the ground, but instead of taking 15, 20 years to disintegrate, it does it in a quicker process. And it’s all environmentally friendly.”2

The traditional cremation process takes three to four hours to complete and releases about 250 kilograms of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. But at Aquagreen Disposition, potash, salt, and water break down the body in a heated, pressurized vessel that resembles an MRI machine- and it takes less than two hours to do it. Once most of the body’s “organic material” is dissolved in the alkaline solution, “the dark-colored, caustic fluid goes through two filter systems”3 on the premises and then it’s sent into the sewage treatment system.

In order to dissolve an average-sized human body, about 74 gallons of alkaline water solution is needed. The heated, pressurized vessel uses the electricity equivalent of a refrigerator.

All that’s left is the skeleton which is then “dried in a convection oven, pressed into a fine white powder and finally returned to the loved one’s family to be scattered.”4 If the person had any artificial hip joints, surgical plates, screws, heart stents or other pieces of surgical hardware, the process leaves them intact so they can be donated to hospitals in developing countries.

But is it really safe?

Ted Joynt, the superintendent of facilities at Smiths Falls water treatment says the process is totally safe. In fact, he says that the liquid mixes with all the other wastewater so it tends to be quite diluted before it even gets into their pipes.

But, he also acknowledges that processing large numbers of bodies could be challenging and that’s why they monitor so closely. To date, there have been no issues.

Hilton believes this is the wave of the future; good for families and good for the environment. He says “You come in by water, and you leave by water. It’s green, all the way around.”

What do you think?

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Erin Elizabeth


Erin Elizabeth is a long time activist with a passion for the healing arts, working in that arena for a quarter century. Her site is barely 4 years old, but cracked the top 20 Natural Health sites worldwide. She is an author, public speaker, and has recently done some TV and film programs for some of her original work which have attracted international media coverage. Erin was the recipient for the Doctors Who Rock "Truth in Journalism award for 2017. You can get Erin’s free e-book here and also watch a short documentary on how she overcame vaccine injuries, Lyme disease, significant weight gain, and more. Follow Erin on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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Sources and References

  1. CBC News, June 20, 2016.
  2. CBC News, June 20, 2016.
  3. CBC News, June 20, 2016.
  4. CBC News, June 20, 2016.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

  • Anastasia

    No, my gut instinct says NO….our waterways are polluted enough and global warming is exaggerated for political reasons.
    Stick with the tried and true means of burial or cremation, this way is ghoulish.

  • Greatgeezer

    Just use a wood chipper for me. 2 minutes, and I’m food for the bugs and animals.

  • disqus_VNcYWPWJrf

    Our water is polluted enough!!! This is sick and morbid!!!

  • Harry Thomas

    Just burn me ashes to ashes and dust to dust.

  • Mara Cain

    Thirsty, anyone?

  • Randall Thrift

    May be environmentally friendly, or that’s what they say, but just does not seem right. Burn me when I die or shoot me the stars in a rocket ship.

  • Lisette Ayala

    Caustic is used to clean a dissolve tar… How is that environmentally friendly?

  • Cristine Rutledge

    Did you actually interview these people to write this article? Because it is surprisingly similar to a CBC article from 2016, and you did not quote the original reporter’s work. . So much for “Truth in Journalism”.

  • They are sourced not one but FOUR times with links as we always do and have since time of publishing. You must not read very well or just get off lying to try to make yourself look good. Scroll up. We won’t hold our breath for an apology. HNN staff

  • Patricia Mccaskill

    Ghoulish? Taking a body injecting it with caustic chemicals (embalming, btw embalming does NOT preserve the body it only keeps it from rotting so fast so it can be painted and stared at for a bit at the funeral …talk about ghoulish!!!) then the body filled with caustic chemicals is put in an expensive box and then that box HAS to be put in a cement container so the non-green rotting corpse won’t leach into the ground and water table. Really? Tried and true? Better rethink.

  • Patricia Mccaskill

    Rather expensive method for disposing of human bodies don’t you think? Rocket ship.

  • Patricia Mccaskill


  • DAS

    What a great idea! Sign me up.

  • Dd

    Who in their right mind would even agree to this process…..

  • Geoffrey Levens

    Somewhat horrifying image but I have always thought Native American and Tibetan sky burial was the ideal way to “go out”. This just adds a modern, macabre twist which also appeals to my dark sense of humor.

  • Geoffrey Levens

    You saw the movie “The Loved One” from the late 1960’s? In an entire theater full of people, my mother, myself, and my surf buddy/best friend were the only people who laughed. We were howling while others were walking out.

  • Geoffrey Levens

    Me! Oh, wait, you said “right mind”. Not sure I can pass that test! HAH!

  • lemsip

    Either is wrong. False dichotomy there. Who stares at a corpse at a funeral? The nearest and dearest are expected to go to the hospital to identify the body or to the funeral home to confirm the identity of the body just in case. Bodies are often embalmed as it takes too long to arrange a funeral because of the time it takes to inform relatives and get them together for a funeral. Often bodies are buried or cremated a week or two after death.

  • lemsip

    It’s fake environmentalism. When I was involved in local green groups a few years ago I was shocked at what they claimed was helping the planet such as flu vaccines and triple vaccines. At one time they were involved in protesting against GM agriculture. Now it’s just the truth seeking movement who are only bothered protest against GM agriculture.

  • Huks

    Just like being buried but faster. What’s the diff? I won’t be there.

  • Linda Behan

    What is he talking about? Fruit/vegie scraps? These are human beings? That’s not treating them with the respect due to their dignity as a human. Sounds similar to the 70’s film, Soylent Green, where dead people were churned into green fertilizer. Gross. Hope the business fails. It deserves to. Absolutely disgusting but why are we surprised. Human beings today are not treated with the love and respect they deserve. Just trash.

  • Mike Kean

    Just when you thought your life was going down the drain… lol

  • Mike Kean

    Hell why not? I’m dead, what do I care.

  • Dd

    Drink up then

  • William Ragan

    Is Tweed drawing water from anywhere near this for their cannabis grow operations? I dont want to smoke dead people.

  • William Ragan

    I would definitely rather have all my fluids removed, be dressed up real nice, and put on display for a group of people, the majority of who, did not have significance in my life. Then I would like to be sealed in a box, and dropped in a dirt hole. And dont forget the witty granite stone.

    Or…. all those costs could just be avoided ? perhaps?> maybe not all , i’m sure liquefaction isn’t free.

    Having said that, there is a company that makes little trees. You can be cremated and your ashes put in with the tree, then you plant the tree and your ashes grow with it

  • Sandra Cunningham

    Burn me and bury me under a tree so I can help it grow.

  • Dd

    Ever heard of cremation? You can have your ashes put into an urn for as little as $500. Why should I have to drink and bath in your dead body fluids and chemical reduced bone meal.

  • Roz

    This title is terrible click bait! Shameful!! I have used this firm on many occasions to memorialize my pets and they have been nothing but respectful, kind and caring.

    This title is grossly misleading and in my opinion completely unethical reporting. People need to read the entire story to see the real intent.

    Horrible! These people are lovely.

    Roz Phelps

  • Roz

    I agree 100%