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NFDA Recommended Waste Minimization Practices

Beginning in 1992, NFDA conducted an evaluation or "audit" of wastewater generated in funeral homes in order to fill a void in information about the origin, nature, quantity, and fate of funeral home wastewater. NFDA recognized that providing this information about funeral home wastewater would assist regulators in making informed decisions about compliance with environmental requirements. One of the stated goals of NFDA is to be a leader in safety, health and environmental issues related to the funeral service profession. NFDA's "Funeral Home Wastestream Audit Report" is a statement of NFDA's continuing commitment to that leadership role. Included in NFDA's "Funeral Home Wastestream Audit Report" (June, 1995) are waste minimization practices recommended for use when embalming is performed. These work practices are of general applicability whether the embalming wastewater is discharged to a community treatment works or a septic system. The work practices are repeated here for the convenience of our members. Be familiar And assure compliance with federal, state and local environmental, health, and safety requirements that may be applicable when embalming is performed. Thoroughly rinse (with water) empty embalming fluid containers and pour the rinsewater into the embalming machine for appropriate handling along with the other wastewater produced in the embalming process. Ordinarily mix only one-half to one gallon of embalming solution at any one time. This amount should be sufficient for all but the largest remains. Do not dispose of excess diluted solutions not needed for embalming; instead reserve premixed solutions in closed, properly labeled containers for future use. Cosmetics, adhesives, tissue builders, cleaning agents and dry wash, which may contain solvents or chlorinated compounds, are ordinarily intended for external application or use and should never be disposed of in the sink or added to the embalming tank. The proper method for disposal of residues remaining in the container is by return of the closed container, and its contents, to the supplier or as recommended on the product label. Limit the amount and type of detergents, soaps, shampoos, shaving creams and disinfectants used. A broad spectrum multi-purpose microbial, antiviral, and germicidal soap often can be used as shampoo, shaving creme, deodorizer and cleaner. Be familiar with the new funeral service products that our suppliers are developing and make every effort to use environmentally friendly products. Make sure that any septic system used for wastewater and sanitary waste disposal is properly operated and regularly maintained. Embalmers are trained to protect the health and safety of the public, their families, and themselves and the environment in the community in which they live and work. Work practices, like these recommended by NFDA, are designed to help our members meet the high standards of the funeral profession. NFDA's "Funeral Home Wastestream Audit Report" (June, 1995) is available from NFDA at minimal cost by calling 800-228-6332. Comments or questions regarding these embalming practices or any regulatory compliance issue may be directed to the NFDA Government Relations Department at 202-530-5306 or by email at