Frequently Asked Questions about Green Burials & Cemeteries.
Q: Is embalming required by law?
No. Only under rare and extraordinary circumstances is embalming required. Outside of a very few countries (including the US) it is not done in most of the rest of the world and some European countries forbid it by law. The custom arose in the US about the time of the Civil War when many relatives of those who died in the battles wanted their loved ones returned home for burial. Embalmers with their wagons and equipment followed the armies from battle to battle to provide the service so this could be accomplished. This is no longer the case today. Modern refrigeration can accomplish the same end and state law in South Dakota allows 72 hours for burial. Embalming has become more of a custom rather than a necessity and the major objection to it is the fact it traditionally uses formaldehyde which the World Health Organization has declared a known carcinogen although the rise of public interest in “Green Burials” has caused some chemical companies who produce embalming fluid to create a more environmental friendly version which contains no formaldehyde and is non-toxic.
Q: Is embalming required for a public viewing?
No. Once again, refrigeration is easily accomlished to keep the body stable within the time frame allowed by law. If a funeral home insists this is a requirement they do so as a policy of their own business and not one required by law. Requirements differ from Funeral Home to Funeral Home and not all of them in Sioux Falls insist on this.
Q: Are “Vaults” or “Grave liners” required by law?
No. Outside burial containers are not required by law in any state. Regulations requiring the use of them are set by individual Cemeteries, not the government. Cemeteries certified by the “Green Burial Council” must allow burial without outside containers.
Q: Are caskets required by law?
No. Caskets are not required by law in any state. A simple burial shroud is allowable if one wishes. Once again, individual Cemeteries set the regulations in these matters and those certified by the “Green Burial Council” must allow shrouded burials.
Q: Can pets be buried with their owners at Mt. Pleasant?
Yes. The cremated remains of pets may be interred in family spaces. We will inter the remains of family pets for a nominal fee but the Cemetery must conduct the interment so we can note exactly where they have been placed on the space so there is no possibility they will be disturbed if there is a future burial of a family member in the same space.
Q: Are two burials allowed in a single space?
Yes. Two burials of any combination (traditional or cremation) are allowed in a space.