This example of the Dutch activity decree includes human crematory, animal crematoria and stray fields where cremation ash is scattered on a crematory ash scattering field.

Crematory ash scattering rules and legislation

In this activity decision for human crematoria, there are rules and legislation that human crematoria need to meet before they can use the cremation furnace in a legal way. By the Dutch law, this activity decision for human crematory is needed to preserve the environment for air pollution and clean soil for as scattering fields.

Cremation ash

Cremation ash is the ash that remains in the oven after cremation. Cremation ash consists for the most part of calcium- and phosphorus-containing compounds and also contains heavy metals such as copper, chromium, nickel and zinc.

Animal crematoria

Animal crematoria cremate companion animals and pets, such as dogs, cats, ferrets and hamsters. The regulations do not apply to the destruction of carcasses of farm animals. The cadaver of a horse (an agricultural pet) may be burned in a recognized pet crematorium.

Air regulations for crematoria

Metal and plastic handles and other plastic or metal decorations must be removed from the cremation furnace before the coffin is inserted. The coffin must not be covered with lead or zinc. In the case of a well-functioning cremation furnace, the emissions occurring generally remain below the general emission limit values ​​for air, including dust. This, incidentally, does not apply to mercury. A crematorium is a combustion plant and must therefore also meet the requirements for inspection and maintenance.

Requirements for good combustions

For good and complete combustion, the waste gases in the after-burning space must have a residence time of at least 1.5 seconds. The temperature of the flue gases must always be higher than 820 ° C. For this the burner must be equipped with an automatic control. The crematorium must continuously monitor the oxygen level and the temperature because these parameters indicate whether the cremator is functioning properly. The oxygen content in the post-combustion chamber must be at least 6%. A short-term exceedance is allowed, but may not be lower than 3% and should not last longer than 1 minute. Six months after commissioning and annually, the proper operation of the installation must be checked by an expert, for example an installer. This is the cremation furnace including the after-treatment / filtration installation. All of the above must record the crematorium in a logbook.

To prevent the formation of nitrogen oxides in the combustion of gas, a low-NOx burner is mandatory. This applies to both the burner in the oven and the burner in the after-burning space.

Mercury is a very worrying substance. In cremation processes mercury emission can be released by the mercury in amalgam fillings. The Activities Decree therefore sets an emission limit value for mercury and mercury compounds. This emission limit value does not apply to animal crematoria. The emission limit value of mercury and mercury compounds is a maximum of 0.05 mg/Nm3 with a mass flow greater than or equal to 0.25 g/h. The summation rule applies. The crematorium meets this emission limit value if they discharge the emissions by an adsorption medium and a filtering separator, which:

  • Well dimensioned
  • Are in a good state of maintenance
  • Periodically
  • Cleaned and replaced as often as necessary

Various emission-reducing techniques are available to remove mercury from the flue gases. The most important are the systems that work by adsorption of the mercury into activated carbon or coke. The crematorium can inject the adsorbent into the flue gases as a powder. Then this is captured by a dust filter (co-current filter). It is also possible to route the flue gases through a layer of the adsorbent (fixed-bed filter).

Dioxins and furans
Dioxins and furans are substances of very high concern. The after treatment installation must be designed, dimensioned, in use and maintained in such a way that these emissions are also prevented or minimized. The competent authority can ask the crematorium to demonstrate on the basis of supplier data that this has been taken into account.

An emission limit value for dust is included in Article 4.118a of the Activities Decree. This emission limit value only applies to animal crematoria. This is necessary because the emission limit value for mercury and the downstream techniques do not apply to animal crematoria. The emission limit value for dust is maximum:

  • 5 mg / Nm3 at a limit mass flow ≥ 200 g / h.
  • 50 mg / Nm3 at a boundary mass flow <200 g / h.

The summation method applies. If the company extracts the emissions and passes through an efficient filtering separator, the company meets the emission limit value of the Activities Decree. This is a recognized measurement. The filtering separator:

  • Is well dimensioned
  • Is in a good state of maintenance
  • Is checked periodically
  • Is cleaned and replaced as often as necessary

The requirements do not apply if the outdoor activity may take place.

Recognized measures

The starting point is that the company complies with the emission limit values ​​from the Activities Decree by taking the recognized measures from the Activities Regulation. In that case, the supervisor checks for the presence and proper functioning of the recognized measure. If the company has not or not sufficiently implemented the recognized measures, the company will demonstrate:

  • That the emission does not exceed the emission limit value
  • Or that the emission is not relevant

You can demonstrate with measurements or calculations, for example.

Soil regulations for the use of a ash scattering field

When scattering cremation ash on a stray field, the underlying soil can be loaded with heavy metals and phosphates by leaching the ash. Soil quality The soil quality of the spreading fields must be recorded periodically. This depends on the number of distractions per year. When using alternating fields, the frequency of soil research can be adjusted by means of a tailor-made regulation.

Exchange fields
Interchanges are stray fields that are alternately used over a certain period of time. According to the Inspection Guideline Corpse Delivery, this means that there are at least two stray fields of sufficient size, one of which is in use for a period of at least 10 years. While the one stray field is in use, a rest period of 10 years is observed on the other stray field, comparable to the legal period of grave rest.

Ash scattering fields in human and animal crematoria

Is based on the number of human distributions per year. The regulations and thus the concept of ‘scattering’ derive from the Inspection Guideline Corpse Delivery. In view of the comparable composition of cremation ash, these prescriptions can also apply to stray fields in animal crematoria. But the amount of cremation ash of a single animal is usually smaller than the amount in a human cremation oven. The amount of ash is related to the mass of the cremated animal and is usually smaller. By including a new tenth paragraph it becomes clear that for the number of scatterings of cremation ash at an animal crematorium the floater of the device must convert to the number of human scatterings.

Spread evenly and avoid spreading
The device holder must distribute the cremation ashes evenly. He must prevent that ashes can end up outside the area or the ash scattering field.

Soil research
The crematorium must periodically record the soil quality of the spreading fields. This depends on the number of distractions per year. The following table provides an overview of the nature and frequency of the soil investigation to be carried out.

Number of scattering per hectare per year Start-up of scattering field  First research Frequency research follow-up
 Before 1 January 2010  Within 5 years
 More then 370  After 1 January 2010  Within 3 months  Every 5 years
 Before 1 January 2010  Within 25 years
  90 till 370  After 1 January 2010  Within 3 months  Every 25 years

With fewer than 90 scatterings per year no soil examination is required. With more than 3200 dispersions per hectare per year, the competent authority can impose additional requirements for the protection of the soil via customized regulations.

Leaching phosphate
With leaching tests, the crematorium must periodically demonstrate that it meets the immission standard of 1,000 mg phosphate per m2 per year. The crematorium must perform the leaching tests as often as the soil examination.

Execution of the studies
Only a person or institution that has an accreditation in accordance with the Soil Quality Decree may carry out the soil investigations and leaching tests. The design of the soil investigation must comply with NEN 5740. If it appears that the soil quality has deteriorated, the establishment owner must restore the soil quality.

Exchange fields
The competent authority can lay down different rules with a customized regulation on the frequency of the soil investigation and the leaching tests on alternating fields. Natural degradation of phosphate is expected to occur during the rest period. For this reason, the competent authority has the possibility to deviate from the frequency of the investigation. It then takes into account the intended rest period and the number of distractions per hectare.

Immission concentration requirement phosphate
The immission of phosphate to the soil must not exceed 1,000 milligrams per square meter per year. This limit does not apply to fewer than 90 disruptions per year.

The establishment holder must record the use intensity of stray fields in a logbook. The log may be an electronic or paper system or a combination thereof. The device holder must keep the logbook as long as necessary to determine whether the stray field complies with the regulations for crematory ash scattering fields.

Source: InfoMil.NL Rijkswaterstaat | Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water