Today’s Ask Your Government

Dear Teri,

With the recent passing of an elderly family member, cremation was discussed as a burial option. This discussion led to many questions, such as: Are crematories under any state guidelines and are they regulated by the state? What standards are they held to?

Any information would be appreciated as I am sure there are many who have questions.

Thank you.

Walter J. Meyer

Thompson

Thanks for writing! I started with the Department of Health but was referred to the North Dakota State Board of Funeral Service. Dale Niewoehner, the board’s executive secretary, gave this response:

“You can find all the answers in article 25-05 of the North Dakota administrative rules. (Note to readers: You can find this by going to www.legis.nd.gov/information/rules/admincode.html.)

“Yes, crematoriums are regulated by the North Dakota State Board of Funeral Service and are licensed on an annual basis. They are inspected prior to opening and every one to three years after.

“There are standards that you can read in the (administrative) rules. Only one body can be cremated at a time, and it is identified by a system so that the person is identified from start to finish and no room for error.

“Each human cremation is finished before the start of another cremation. Pets are not permitted to be cremated in the same crematorium.

“The Badlands Crematorium in Dickinson has a separate retort for pet cremations, and there might be others. Our board does not have any authority over pet cremations.

“After the cremation is completed, the cremated remains are either picked up by the funeral home or shipped by registered and insured U.S. Mail. FedEx or UPS will not knowingly ship cremated remains.

“The cremated remains are given the same dignity as a dead human body when in the care of a crematorium or funeral home.

“If you look up the article 25-05, you will find much more information regarding the subject of cremation.

“The cremation is the final disposition of the body and is registered in the county of cremation.   The cremated remains may be buried in a cemetery, placed in a columbarium at a cemetery or church, kept at home or scattered. 

“There are no laws or rules regarding the disposition of the cremated remains. I hope this answers your questions. Thank you for asking.”

Do you have a question for a North Dakota state government official or agency? Send us your question, and we’ll do our best to find an answer.

E-mail politics@wday.com (Subject: Ask your government).

You may also write to Teri Finneman c/o Forum Communications, Press Room, State Capitol, Bismarck, ND 58505.

Please include your name, town and a phone number to reach you for verification.

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