Celebrating a Life: Blog

    What You Need to Know When Scattering Cremated Remains in Ohio

    Posted by Jim Busch December 6, 2018

    Scattering_Remains_OhioWhile many families that select burial typically choose to lay a loved one to rest in a cemetery, cremation opens up the door to many possibilities.

    Think scattering, for example. While there are rules and regulations related to this disposition method, scattering is a unique and popular way to release remains in a place that was symbolic to the deceased. Scattering helps friends and family connect with the deceased even after they’ve passed by honoring their final wishes. 

    But, before you go scattering your loved one’s ashes just anywhere, it’s important to review state laws. Here’s everything you need to know about scattering remains in Ohio.

    1. Private Versus Public Property

    There are no laws in the state of Ohio prohibiting the scattering of cremated remains on land. This does not mean, however, that you can scatter your loved one’s ashes anywhere you choose.

    For instance, you’re allowed to scatter ashes on private property as long as you have permission. If you scatter on private land without permission, it could be considered a criminal act of trespassing.

    When using public lands for scattering remains, it’s encouraged to review city and county regulations, as well as zoning rules for the area. Some areas like national parks, forests and reserves require a special permit. Other places may require a small fee, so contact the local park manager before scattering remains. Note that some parks prohibit the scattering of ashes entirely.

    2. Rivers and Lakes 

    The state of Ohio does not require a permit when scattering cremated remains on inland waterways, including rivers and lakes.

    Families may choose to pour the ashes directly into the water, or purchase a biodegradable urn, specifically designed to aid the scattering process.

    When scattering or interring cremated remains in the ocean, U.S. Code (40CFR229.1) requires the ashes be dispersed at least three nautical miles from land under the Clean Water Act. Within 30 days of scattering, a registration of the disposition must be filed to the regional administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from which the vessel departed.

    3. Air 

    Aerial scattering is legal in the state of Ohio, with some stipulations. Federal aviation laws prohibit the dropping of objects from air that might injure people or property. While cremated remains are not considered a hazardous material, pilots are advised to pour the ashes out of the container when scattering. Pilots are not allowed to toss the container from the plane.  

    In some states, pilots must carry a license, permitting them to scatter ashes by air.

    As always, exercise due diligence when scattering. Recognize the sensitivity of this activity by handling the remains in a private manner.

    Also, note that some religious groups forbid the scattering of cremated remains. For instance, the Catholic Church does not permit the scattering of remains.

    Learn Everything You Need to Know About Cremation

    If you or a loved one is considering cremation, it’s imperative to understand your options and associated costs. When choosing a cremation provider, refer to our guide, Cremation Costs Explained: How to Get the Best Value Without Sacrificing Service to help you select the right options for your needs.

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    Editor's Note: This post was reviewed and approved by Poul Lemasters, attorney, funeral director / embalmer and owner of Lemasters Consulting, for accuracy. 

    Image credit: Pixabay 

    Topics: Cremation


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