Those who feel the cremains of a loved one can be scattered anywhere at anytime are mistaken. There are a variety of laws and regulations, both federal and local, governing the scattering of ashes. In addition, those scattering ashes may be required to get a permit or notify a variety of authorities. There are other common courtesy considerations to keep in mind, even where scattering ashes may be permitted. Here are some thoughts to keep in mind when considering scattering ashes.
Only cremated ashes can be scattered, and they should be kept in an urn until the day and date of scattering occurs. It should be determined what permissions or notifications are required. Wind will often play a factor when scattering ashes and those attending should be careful to stay upwind of where the ashes will be scattered.
Keep in mind, human ashes can be distinctive if left in a pile, so many decide to have cremains pulverized finer and raked into the ground where they won’t be identified or disturbed.
Some Places May Seem Better Suited Than They Really Are
One of the most frequent mistakes people make is choosing places that may seem more appropriate or romantic than they are in reality. Sports stadiums and amusement parks are two. Both are considered private property and permission must be granted, which is highly unlikely. Should you attempt to scatter ashes without permission and are caught, you could face a fine and/or public service. In addition, the ashes will be removed and replaced elsewhere where you may not be aware. The fact is, even if you were able to accomplish your task without notice, the ashes are either likely to be walked upon, mowed over, collected on shoes or suffer a variety of other indignities.
Scattering Ashes at Sea
Scattering human ashes at sea, either using an airplane or boat is permissible if it is done at least three miles or more offshore. Only biodegradable items can be placed in the ocean including urns, flowers, and any decorative items. Permission should be sought from the boat captain and, of course, attention should be paid to the wind direction. There are charter boats available for just such purposes. Following a burial at sea, the EPA should be notified within 30 days.
Scattering in a National Parks
Scattering ashes at all National Parks is permissible if the park ranger is notified, a permit is obtained and ashes are scattered in areas that are not heavily populated. Areas that are environmentally sensitive may also be restricted.
Scattering Ashes on Private Land
Scattering ashes on private property is fine, as long as you own the property or have the permission of the property owner. Not gaining permission can be seen as trespassing and could result in criminal charges.
Scattering of Ashes in Inland Lakes and Rivers
Scattering of ashes in inland lakes and rivers is illegal in some states so it is best to check with the EPA in the specific state where you plan to scatter the ashes.
Be Considerate of Others
When considering how, when and where to scatter ashes, not only will you want to be compliant with local and federal regulations, you want to be considerate of others. Don’t scatter ashes where they may be uncovered by others or on beaches or trailways. You’ll also want to be aware of those near you when the scattering takes place as some people may be uncomfortable with the situation. Carefully research and plan the scattering of ashes to make sure it is conducted with the dignity they deserve.
If you have any questions about cremations in Ohio and Kentucky and how and where ashes may be scattered, please feel free to contact us. We are the Cremation Society of Greater Cincinnati, and we are here to assist you.