scattering cremated remains in the ocean is a popular option

Cremated Remains – Regulations

Different states have different rules and regulations that govern the scattering of the cremated remains. Here are some of the common areas for scattering cremated remains, and the regulations that govern them.


Common Areas for Scattering Cremated Remains

Cemetery – Some cemeteries provide areas where you can scatter ashes, but contact the cemetery directly to learn what their individual rules are for scattering cremated remains on their grounds.

Private Land – In Virginia, you are allowed to scatter cremated remains on your own private property. If you wish to scatter the ashes on private land that you do not own, then you will be required to get the permission of the land owner.

Federal Land – Prior to scattering ashes on federal land, you should seek permission. Generally, the National Park Service will grant permission to scatter cremation remains within the boundaries of a national park if certain guidelines are followed. In the Blue Ridge Parkway, they ask that you refrain from scattering the ashes within 100 feet of any trail, road, developed facility, or body of water. They also request that cremated remains not be scattered at Craggy Gardens and Devils Courthouse because the ash builds up in the rocky crevices and can change the soil’s pH balance. Permits are required if an official ceremony is to be performed within park’s boundaries.

Sea – The Federal Clean Water Act states that cremated remains must be scattered at least three nautical miles from land, according to the Neptune Society. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must be notified within 30 days of scattering the ashes at sea.

Other Body of Water – State agencies that govern clean water bodies generally require a permit before cremated remains can be dispersed into a river or lake.

Air – Ashes can be scattered in the air via a plane, hot air balloon, or during a skydiving jump. However, federal aviation laws says that you cannot drop a hard object into the air, so you must remove the ashes from any container before dispersal into the air.

Beach – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not allow cremated remains to be scattered on any public beach.

As you can see, there are many different options available for the scattering of cremated remains.  Ask your funeral director to help make contact with these agencies on your behalf so that you can focus on grieving and being with your family.

For more information regarding cremation, contact Tharp Funeral Home at (434) 237-9424.