"It brings your body back to its natural state," the funeral home’s owner, Dale Hilton, told CBC News. "It's the same way as being buried in the ground, but instead of taking 15, 20 years to disintegrate, it does it in a quicker process. And it's all environmentally-friendly."
The process was invented in the United States, and has traveled north to Canada.
Hilton argues that traditional fire-based cremations take between three and four hours, and release approximately 250kg of carbon dioxide during the process, while the alkaline treatment does not.
The system Hilton uses places the corpse into a hot pressurized vessel filled with potash, salt, and water, which dissolves the organic material. The coffee colored liquid is then filtered twice, and dumped down the drain. The bones remain, however, and are then dried in a convection oven and powdered. The funeral home gives the powdered bone material back to loved ones, in the same manner as is done with ashes.
A local water treatment plant, while monitoring for abnormalities, so far maintains that they have not found any cause for alarm.
"We keep an eye on these things," Ted Joynt, the superintendent of facilities for Smiths Falls told the CBC. "We consistently monitor for about the last year. [It's] nothing to be concerned about, nothing more than what happens at other industries.”
When asked if a large amount of bodies being processed in this way would present a problem however, Joynt admitted that he was unsure. There have been two spikes in abnormalities since the process began, but Joynt could not conclusively determine that the funeral home was at fault.
"It could be a problem. We haven't experienced that yet. I don't know how many bodies they'd have to do in a day for that to be a problem," he said. "The liquid mixes with all the other wastewater from the Galipeau Centre, so it tends to dilute it down quite a bit before it gets into our pipes."
As unsettling as the process may sound to some, Hilton maintains that it is the way of the future, as it is 100% green.
"Flame-based [cremation] is not environmentally friendly, but up until this point, that's the only thing we've had. Now, I think people are looking at it a different way,” Hilton said.
"You're entering yourself back to your natural state as you come into this world. You come in by water, and you leave by water," Hilton said. "It's green, all the way around."