New in mortuary science: Dissolving bodies with lye

Liquid waste from cadavers goes down the drain at the both the Mayo Clinic and the University of Florida, as does the liquid residue from human tissue and animal carcasses at alkaline hydrolysis sites elsewhere.

Manchester funeral director Chad Corbin wants to operate a $300,000 cylinder in New Hampshire. He said that an alkaline hydrolysis operation is more expensive to set up than a crematorium but that he would charge customers about as much as he would for cremation.

George Carlson, an industrial-waste manager for the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, said things the public might find more troubling routinely flow into sewage treatment plants in the U.S. all the time. That includes blood and spillover embalming fluid from funeral homes.

The department issued a permit to Corbin last year, but he let the deal on the property fall through because of delays in getting the other necessary permits. Now he must go through the process all over again, and there is gathering resistance. But he said he is undeterred.

"I don't not know how long it will take," he said recently, "but eventually it will happen."

AP News Researcher Judith Ausuebel contributed to this report.

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