White Bear Lake doesn't want the dead's remains floating in the sewer


We all want to be more eco-friendly these days. Take out the recycling. Drive the gas guzzler a little less.

Help clean up the air.

But sending a loved one's remains down the city sewer system instead of up in smoke sounds like it was going a little too far the other night in White Bear Lake.

The town board there denied a permit for something called water-based cremation.

If Bradshaw Funeral Home had won approval it would have become one of only a handful of funeral businesses that offer alkaline hydrolysis. The machine used is made by a company called Resomation.

In a regular cremations, a body is burned, and the ashes are turned over to a family or loved one for burial or safe keeping for some other time.

Alkaline hydrolysis is essentially a amped-up decomposition: A body is placed in a hot alkali bath and breaks down rapidly to ash and other liquids.

Jim Bradshaw needed the permit because he wanted to send these remains into the sewer system. And he promoted the process as eco-friendly.

"There isn't the high use of fuel and no emissions, so there's no smoke stack coming out of our building," he told the board.

Permit denied.

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