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Emmissions Tests Provide Positive Results
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A joint effort by CANA and EPA produced evidence that crematories are capable of low emission without the addition of pollution equipment and that higher temperatures can increase pollutants.

The Cremation Association of North America recently participated in a detailed emissions study of a crematory as part of an effort by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to develop environmental regulations for crematories.

The crematory emissions testing, which took place from June 11 through June 17, 1999 at The Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, New York, was funded jointly by CANA and the EPA.

The EPA is required by the Clean Air Act to establish regulations for the year 2000 for several different types of combustion equipment, including crematories.

Sensing the importance of being involved with the EPA in developing the regulations, CANA selected the environmental team of Dale Walter and Paul Rahill from Industrial Equipment & Engineering Company to represent the interests of CANA members during the development process.

Efforts to create the crematory regulations began in 1996 and the regulations were expected in November 1999. The regulations are now expected in the Spring of 2000 because priority has been given to other types of facilities. The CANA environmental team has participated in every step of the process to insure proper representation of the cremation industry.

The fact that EPA considers crematories a low priority would also have meant that testing funds would not have been available. However, the CANA environmental team felt that because these regulations could have such a large impact on the cremation industry it was important that they be based on complete test data. At this point EPA agreed to a CANA proposal to share the testing costs. This joint effort was made possible through donations from CANA members, and industry associations. 

Testing Plan

The Woodlawn Cemetery facility was chosen because the All Crematory equipment installed there is typical of many facilities and also because it is one of the only crematories in North America with additional pollution control equipment. Water scrubber devices are installed in the exhaust ducts to clean the combustion gases.

During each test run, sampling of the combustion gases was conducted both upstream and downstream of the water scrubber device to determine how effective the device was.

As recommended by the CANA environmental team, testing was conducted under three different secondary chamber operating temperatures to get a clear picture of how emissions change with temperature. A series of tests took place at each of the following temperatures: 1400°F; 1600°F; and 1800°F. Initially, EPA planned to test only at 1600°F and 1800°F. However, CANA felt it was important to test at 1400°F and decided to pay the full cost of the additional testing because many older facilities cannot operate at the higher temperatures.

Three cremations were performed at each temperature condition. 

The following are the pollutants for which emission standards are to be established and for which testing was conducted:

  • visible emissions
  • particulate matter
  • carbon monoxide
  • nitrogen oxides
  • sulfur dioxide
  • hydrogen chloride
  • metals (cadmium, mercury, and lead)
  • dioxins and furans