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Austin Funeral Homes Drain Blood and Embalming Fluid Down the Sewers

Jorge Ortiz (C), CEO of Perches Funeral Homes, watches as workers bring the coffin at Perches Funeral Homes in El Paso, Texas on December 4, 2020.

Photo: Paul Rathieu (Getty Images)

In Texas, blood is in the water. No, I’m not metaphorically and I’m not quoting a country song. I mean, Austin funeral homes drain human blood from corpses down the drain, along with toxic embalming fluids.

Several embalmers in the Austin area say that any blood, bodily fluids, and embalming fluid that leaves the bodies of deceased people is simply flushed down the sink. according to reports Austin is an American statesman. Austin water officials said they had no idea this was a common practice.

Amy Petrie, public relations manager for the Office of Sustainable Development, said funeral directors violated a Texas Environmental Quality Commission ruling because they did not have written permission to dump liquids.

“Austin Water has not received any applications for permission from funeral homes to dump medical waste,” she wrote in an email.

However, she said she does not think the fluids pose a health or environmental hazard. She noted that the leadership of the Center for Disease Control allow disposal medical waste through the sewerage system. She also reported that the National Association of Clean Water Agencies recently recognized Austin’s wastewater treatment plants have received awards for maximum performance, and added that Austin does not recycle wastewater for any drinking purposes – water and wastewater treatment processes are separate and to protect against accidental industrial waste.

“Austin Water is confident that our cleaning processes handle these materials that may end up in the sewer system,” she said.

Glenn Bauer, executive director of the Texas Funeral Commission, also said there was nothing to worry about.

“It’s pretty common and not dangerous at all,” he wrote in an email.

Bowser added that the disposal method is definitely not a secret. About 1,600 funeral homes across the state dispose of leftover fluid in this way, and the practice is being taught in institutions across the state.

“This is a safe process taught in all accredited schools; many are on public college campuses, ”he said. “If it were illegal or unsafe, public schools would not allow this practice to be taught on their campuses and classrooms.”

However, thinking about it is pretty disgusting – and it’s far from the only unpleasant thing that ends up in waterways. When it comes to chicken processing plants ” or butchery ” Wastewater, blood among worst forms of pollution. In 2012, after a Dallas meat factory was caught dumping enough pig blood into a river to make it red, local, state and federal authorities have teamed up to investigate. FFormaldehyde is also toxic and can irritate the skin in high enough doses.

According to Bowser, funeral home drainage is not at all like that. He said that although the Statesman article may refer to an image of all gallons blood from the human body, poured into the sink, along with pure formaldehyde, in fact, the fluids drained by funeral homes are highly diluted with water.

“Water is constantly flowing across the table to dilute everything that comes out of the venous system,” he said.

Green graves are becoming more and more popular because they have a lighter in them. impact on the environment. Oregon and Washington both passed laws allowing composting of people and other less impactful forms of burial that do not require the embalming of chemicals. Green graveyards have also become more often nationwide, although cremation is still common in the United States… (It has its own source of problems with air pollution and carbon emissions.)

The Texas Department of Environmental Quality was unable to comment. This post will be updated if they send it.


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