Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs About Aquamation and Working with Endswell

We know you have many questions about aquamation and end-of-life planning. Endswell is here to offer open and honest communication, as well as simple and transparent pricing. We are available to answer any questions you may have about the aquamation process and end-of-life planning and care.

Should you have additional questions you don’t see on this page, contact us anytime at 919.907.9777 or email


What is Aquamation?

What is aquamation?

Aquamation is water-based cremation. It is a method of final disposition that utilizes a combination of gentle water flow, temperature, and alkalinity to break down organic material. The scientific name for this water-based process is alkaline hydrolysis and it is growing in popularity as it is a simple, gentle, affordable, and environmentally friendly alternative to flame cremation.

How long has Aquamation been around?

The technology has been in use by universities and the scientific community for over 25 years. It has been used for the final disposition of human bodies donated to medical science since 1995 and by funeral homes since 2011.

What happens during the Aquamation process?

When it’s time for the aquamation process to begin, the body is carefully placed in a stainless-steel vessel. Potassium hydroxide and water are added to the aquamation chamber and the machine is sealed and activated. The solution of 95% water and 5% alkali is heated to 200- 300°F and gently circulated for the entire length of the process.

What happens after the Aquamation process is complete?

At the end of the aquamation process, all soft tissue has been broken down, leaving behind bones and a sterile liquid. The effluent, or remaining liquid, is released for recycling at a local water treatment facility. When the operator opens the door, only the inorganic bone minerals remain. These minerals are processed into powder and returned to the family in an urn. This final processing step is the same process that follows flame cremation.

Is a casket required for Aquamation?

No. Unlike flame-based cremation, the aquamation process does not use a box or a casket. Additionally, clothing is not typically used unless it is protein-based (silk, wool, or leather). Prior to aquamation, our experienced team carefully places the body in a simple biodegradable cover that breaks down during the aquamation process.

How long does Aquamation take?

The process takes approximately 5 hours, depending on the weight of the body and the operating temperature of the equipment.

Can the body be embalmed prior to Aquamation?

Yes. This is a choice for you and your family members. Note, all embalming fluids will be completely broken down during the aquamation process. Also, please know that Endswell does not perform embalming; but we are able to connect you with a funeral home that offers this service.

Questions about Green Burial

What is green burial and how does it differ from traditional burial methods?

Green burial, also known as natural burial, is an eco-friendly alternative to traditional burial practices. It involves burying the body without embalming chemicals, metal caskets, or concrete vaults. The body is placed in a biodegradable casket or shroud and interred in a way that allows it to decompose naturally and contribute to the surrounding ecosystem. Endswell’s green burial services are designed to minimize environmental impact and preserve natural landscapes.

What does the $3000 green burial service at Endswell include?

The $3000 green burial service at Endswell covers all essentials needed for a natural burial. This includes the provision of a biodegradable casket or shroud, the burial plot within our sustainably managed green cemetery, and all necessary coordination and handling. Our price transparency guarantees that families receive comprehensive care without hidden costs.

How does Endswell Funeral Home promote environmental sustainability with its burial services?

Endswell is committed to environmental stewardship through practices that conserve natural resources and habitats. Our green burial options avoid polluting chemicals and non-biodegradable materials, helping to maintain the ecological balance of the burial site which is often designed to support native flora and fauna.

What are the benefits of choosing Endswell for green burial services?

Choosing green burial services with Endswell offers significant environmental benefits, such as reducing carbon footprint and preserving natural landscapes. Our services also provide a meaningful and dignified way to say goodbye, with each aspect handled with care and respect, ensuring a process that is as stress-free as possible for the family.

What should families expect during the green burial process at Endswell?

Families can expect a respectful and unhurried process. From the initial planning stages to the burial, Endswell’s experienced team provides guidance and support, ensuring the burial respects both the environment and the wishes of the deceased and their loved ones.

How does Endswell ensure compliance with legal and ecological standards for green burial?

Endswell rigorously adheres to all applicable legal and environmental regulations. We work closely with local authorities and environmental agencies to ensure our burial practices meet stringent standards, safeguarding both legal compliance and ecological integrity.

How can families start planning for green burial services with Endswell?

To begin planning for a green burial with Endswell, families can contact us directly through our website or by phone. Our staff are ready to discuss your needs, provide information about our services, and help you understand the benefits of choosing a natural burial.

Why is green burial considered a more sustainable choice?

Green burial is sustainable because it eliminates the use of toxic embalming fluids, metal caskets, and concrete vaults, all of which can harm the environment. By choosing natural decomposition and biodegradable materials, green burial reduces environmental impact and supports the conservation of natural habitats.

Can families personalize a green burial service at Endswell Funeral Home to reflect their loved one's spirit and values?

Yes, personalization is central to the services provided by Endswell. Families can choose from various biodegradable burial vessels, select native plantings for the gravesite, and plan memorial services that incorporate personal symbols, readings, or natural elements that were significant to the deceased. Our goal is to create a deeply personal and meaningful farewell that honors the individual’s life and environmental values.

What are the specific environmental and personal benefits of selecting Endswell’s green burial services?

Choosing Endswell’s green burial services offers numerous benefits including reducing ecological impact, preserving natural landscapes, and providing a serene final resting place that serves as a habitat for local flora and fauna. On a personal level, it allows families to align the final rites with the deceased’s environmental ethics, offering peace of mind that the burial was in harmony with nature.

What steps are involved in the green burial process at Endswell, and what should families expect?

The process begins with a consultation to discuss the family’s wishes and the options available. Once plans are set, Endswell handles all aspects of the burial, from transportation and preparation of the body using natural materials, to the actual burial in our green cemetery. Families can expect a smooth, respectful process, with support at every step to ensure the ceremony reflects their wishes and provides a dignified farewell to their loved one.

How does Endswell handle the necessary legal and regulatory requirements for conducting a green burial?

Endswell is committed to strict compliance with all legal and environmental regulations. We handle all documentation, from death certificates to burial permits, ensuring every aspect of the green burial meets local and national standards. Our experienced staff stays updated on legal requirements to provide families with a hassle-free experience.

How can families initiate the planning process for a green burial with Endswell?

Families interested in planning a green burial with Endswell can start by contacting us through our website, via email, or by phone. Our knowledgeable staff are available to provide detailed information about our services, answer any questions, and help plan a burial that meets your needs and honors your loved one’s memory in an environmentally respectful manner.

Why is choosing a green burial considered a more sustainable and meaningful choice?

Green burial is sustainable because it uses no toxic chemicals, reduces carbon emissions, and requires fewer resources than traditional burials. It provides a natural return to the earth, allowing the body to decompose organically and contribute to the ecosystem. This choice often resonates deeply with individuals who lived with environmental awareness, making the burial not just a disposition method but a continuation of their life’s values.

Questions about Cremation

What is green cremation and how does it differ from traditional cremation?

Green cremation, also known as low-emission cremation, is an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional cremation. It utilizes advanced technology to reduce emissions and energy consumption during the cremation process. This method aligns with Endswell’s commitment to sustainable end-of-life care by minimizing the environmental impact.

What does the $3000 green cremation service at Endswell include?

Endswell’s green cremation service, priced at $3000, is all-inclusive. It covers the transfer of the deceased within the local area, the cremation process, all necessary legal paperwork, and the return of the ashes in an eco-friendly urn. This transparent pricing model ensures families understand all costs upfront without any surprises.

How does Endswell Funeral Home promote sustainability with its cremation services?

At Endswell, sustainability is a core value. Our green cremation services use state-of-the-art technology to significantly reduce the carbon footprint typically associated with traditional cremation methods. We also offer biodegradable urns and encourage the scattering of ashes in natural, meaningful locations as part of our commitment to eco-friendly practices.

Can families personalize the green cremation service at Endswell Funeral Home?

Yes, personalization is a key aspect of Endswell’s services. Families can customize the memorial service with specific themes, choose from a range of eco-friendly urns, and decide on the final disposition of the ashes. Our concierge care team assists in creating a meaningful tribute that honors the life and values of the deceased.

What are the benefits of choosing Endswell for green cremation services?

Opting for green cremation services at Endswell offers benefits such as environmental responsibility, cost-effectiveness, and comprehensive support through our concierge care. Our approach ensures a respectful, dignified handling of the cremation process, reflecting the preferences and values of the deceased and their families.

What steps does Endswell take to ensure a dignified cremation process?

Dignity and respect are paramount at Endswell. We handle every aspect of the cremation process with professionalism and care, from the respectful transfer of the deceased to managing all details of the memorial service. Our trained staff are committed to providing a compassionate experience for each family.

How does Endswell handle the legal and regulatory requirements for green cremation?

Endswell rigorously adheres to all local and national regulations concerning green cremation. Our team manages all necessary documentation and permits, ensuring a smooth and compliant process. Families can have peace of mind knowing that all legal aspects are proficiently handled.

How can families start planning for green cremation services with Endswell?

Families interested in green cremation services can begin by contacting Endswell via our website or phone. Our dedicated staff are available to provide detailed information, answer any questions, and help you plan a service that meets your needs and honors your loved one in an environmentally respectful way.

What makes green cremation a better alternative to traditional burial methods?

Green cremation is a better alternative for those looking to reduce their environmental impact. It eliminates the need for embalming chemicals, reduces land use, and minimizes carbon emissions. It provides a sustainable choice that benefits the planet while still offering a respectful and dignified way to commemorate a loved one’s life.

Questions about Urns and Ashes

Does Aquamation produce ashes?

Yes. In fact, the aquamation process produces 20-30% more ashes than standard flame-based cremation. At the end of the process, the inorganic remains of the body (the calcium phosphate of the bones) are processed into a powder for placement in an urn.

Why do you receive more ashes than with flame cremation?

The aquamation process occurs at 200-300°F without any fire at all, and the water circulation in the system is similar to the flow of a creek or stream. It is very gentle to the final mineral remains, which allows more ash to be present at the end of the process.

Does the family receive an urn with ashes?

Yes. Endswell includes a durable yet biodegradable urn with our aquamation service. You may also provide your own urn or you may select a hand-crafted urn from our urn gallery.

Are the remains safe to handle?

Yes, the ash remains are 100% sterile and safe to handle.

What can be done with the urn and ashes?

Some families choose to bury the urn in a cemetery, or permanently inter the urn in a columbarium. Additionally, there are memorial products that can be made with the ashes such as hand-blown glass memorials, ceramic art pieces, and more. Many families choose to scatter some or all the remains in a meaningful location.

How do you return my loved one’s remains?

Endswell seals the remains in a durable, eco-friendly urn. We then carefully wrap and package the urn and mail the package within one day of the aquamation process. For customers in the Triangle who shop at our urn gallery, we often hand-deliver the urn to your home, if requested.

How long does it take for remains to be returned?

After taking your loved one into our care, remains are typically returned in 1-3 business days. The turnaround time largely depends on the time required to obtain necessary paperwork. The aquamation process itself takes only 4-6 hours.

What can I do with cremation or aquamation ashes?

Ashes can be kept in decorative urns within the home, buried in a family plot or a dedicated urn garden at a cemetery, or placed in a columbarium niche. You can also choose to incorporate ashes into unique items such as jewelry, glass sculptures, or custom-made paintings, which can serve as personalized memorials of your loved one.

Can I scatter cremation or aquamation ashes?

Scattering ashes is a popular choice and can be done in many meaningful locations such as over the ocean, in a forest, or in a scattering garden designed specifically for this purpose. It’s important to always check local regulations, as some areas require permits or have specific rules regarding ash scattering.

Is it possible to travel with cremation or aquamation ashes?

Traveling with ashes is permissible, but when flying, you must comply with airline policies and TSA regulations. The ashes should be placed in a container made of a material that can be x-rayed, such as wood or plastic. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) recommends contacting the airline in advance to determine their specific policies on traveling with cremated remains. For further details, visit the TSA website.

Can cremation or aquamation ashes be divided among family members?

Dividing ashes allows each family member to keep a portion as a personal memorial. This is often facilitated by transferring the ashes into smaller urns or keepsakes, allowing for varied memorialization according to individual preferences.

Are there any creative options for using cremation or aquamation ashes?

Innovative memorial options include converting ashes into memorial diamonds, incorporating them into vinyl records, or using them in tattoo ink. These options offer unique ways to commemorate loved ones in a manner that can be both meaningful and personal.

Can I plant cremation or aquamation ashes with a tree or in a garden?

Using ashes to nourish the growth of a plant or tree can be a beautiful way to remember a loved one. However, because human ashes can be alkaline and salty, they may harm plant life if not handled correctly. To mitigate this, mix the ashes with a soil amendment or a specially designed product like a bio urn that helps neutralize the pH and enrich the soil, facilitating healthy plant growth.

Funerals and Viewings

Do I need to have a funeral or a memorial service?

This is a question for you and your family. A funeral service occurs with the body present and a memorial service occurs after the body has been aquamated, cremated, or buried. These are family decisions that are often influenced by religious beliefs, traditions, someone’s last wishes, as well as the loved ones who have cared for the deceased. We are here to answer any questions you have and connect you to the right resources for you and your family.

Does Endswell perform funerals?

No. We are not a funeral home and are not licensed to perform funerals. We can connect you to local funeral homes, religious institutions, event spaces, life celebrants, and many other resources so you can plan a funeral service or memorial service, on your terms.

If we choose Aquamation, can our family still have a viewing?

Of course! Many families choose to have a visitation for family and friends prior to the aquamation process. There are funeral professionals who can perform a visitation service with or without traditional embalming. Contact us to coordinate with a funeral home in your area. Additionally, the family may view the body in person at Endswell. While we do not provide funeral services at our location in Hillsborough, we do offer a final viewing before the aquamation process.

Can our family still have a memorial service after Aquamation?

Absolutely. Many families choose to have a memorial service or celebration of life to honor the life of their loved one and gather with friends and family. This can occur before or after the aquamation process.

Making End-of-Life-Plans

How should I plan ahead when making end-of-life arrangements?

Choose what you want to happen to your body: aquamation, cremation, green burial, or burial with embalming. Notify your family of your choices as well as what actions to perform after your death. Select a funeral home that offers what you want. Consider a plan for a memorial service. Gather information for your obituary. Make a list of your bank accounts, bills, and any unfinished business.

Endswell is available at any time to answer questions and help you with advanced planning.

What should you do if your loved one is nearing the end of his or her life?

We encourage you to sit down with your loved one to talk through their final wishes. If you are making decisions for someone who can no longer decide for themselves, we suggest you contact their primary care doctor as well as an attorney. If you are interested in our simple aquamation service and wish to make that part of your arrangements, we can work with you and your family directly or work with a local funeral home of your choosing. Contact us to start a conversation.

After Your Loved One Passes

What should I do when my loved one passes away?

Take a moment with your loved one to process what’s happened and gather with other relatives or close friends. If you have already chosen Endswell to provide aquamation, contact us as soon as you are able, and we will take care of everything from there. We will be in touch right away with our estimated time of arrival and what to expect in the coming hours and days.

If your loved one has passed in a hospital or hospice care facility, please let the institution know that you are working with Endswell and/or a local funeral home.

After my loved one passes how long will it take for Endswell to arrive?

Like most funeral homes in the United States, Endswell works will local, reputable companies that specialize in transportation of the deceased. These companies have staff available 24/7 as well as the appropriate equipment necessary to transport the deceased. The typical arrival window is within 1-2 hours of your call, depending on traffic, the needs of the family, the location of your loved one or the release authorization requirements of a care facility.

What will happen when Endswell leaves with my loved one’s body?

Your loved one will be carefully transported directly to our aquamation facility in Hillsborough, NC. Their body will be held safely and treated with respect. Once the proper paperwork is filed, Endswell will notify the family and proceed with the aquamation process.

What happens if my loved one dies in the middle of the night?

Call us, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 919.907.9777. We are always here for you and your family.

Should I call 911?

If your loved one dies in a sudden accident or under suspicious circumstances, dial 911 right away.

If your loved one dies in hospice at home, it is not an emergency. You do not need to call 911 in this scenario. Your family is free to decide if you want to call Endswell or another funeral home right away or spend some time at home with your loved one before the body is removed.

Should I call social security right after my loved one dies?

Social Security is automatically alerted once a death certificate is filed. To reach social security directly, you can call their national 800 Number at 1-800-772-1213 between 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

If you are deaf or hard of hearing and use TTY equipment, you can call the TTY number at 1-800-325-0778.

Who determines the cause of death?

Only a physician, hospice team, or medical examiner can determine cause of death. Endswell does not determine or confirm cause of death.

What is a death certificate?

It’s a legal document containing your loved one’s statistics, disposition, and final medical information. In addition, the death certificate is used to register the death with the state and in transactions requiring proof of death.

General Questions

How do I request Endswell’s services and obtain a quote?

You are welcome to contact us by phone, in person or online. To start a conversation, complete our online form, call us at 919.907.9777 or email We look forward to supporting you and your family.

What areas do you serve?

We are headquartered in Hillsborough, NC and we serve all of central North Carolina, including Orange, Wake, Durham, Guilford, and Chatham Counties. Our aquamation service includes 50 miles of transportation. Please contact us to inquire about transportation greater than 50 miles from Endswell. We will find a simple and affordable way to accommodate your needs.

How much does Aquamation cost?

Endswell offers one simple aquamation service for $3,500 that includes transportation, aquamation, death certificates, and the return of remains in an eco-friendly urn. Please call or email to inquire about additional costs for transportation greater than 50 miles. You can reach us at 919.907.9777

Don’t funeral homes have hidden fees?

Many do. At Endswell, there is no upselling, no hidden fees, and nothing unexpected. We do not pressure you with pre-need contracts. Endswell offers one simple arrangement; and we take care of every part of the process.

What is green burial and how is it different than aquamation?

In many ways, aquamation is closely tied to the green burial movement. Both methods of final disposition represent a departure from modern burial practices that are often elaborate, expensive, and bad for the environment. Aquamation and green burial are both simple, affordable, and environmentally friendly alternatives to traditional burial with embalming. Endswell is also happy to recommend local green burial providers.

I have more questions. How can I get in touch?

Endswell is locally owned, and we are available 24/7 if you need immediate assistance. For general inquiries, pre-planning, or questions about the Urn Gallery, please call or email to schedule an appointment.

If a death is imminent or has already occurred and you need our services immediately, please call us any time to make arrangements at 919.907.9777

Ready to get started or want to learn more?