Maine Cemetery and Crematorium Regulations

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS  

Where can I find Maine law and regulations relating to cemeteries?

Excerpts from the relevant sections of Maine law are available on this site. For more detailed information, you can search Maine laws at the Maine Legislature's web site.

Who regulates cemeteries?

The Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Environmental Health has the responsibility for overseeing the registration of new or expanded burial grounds, cemeteries, mausolea (above ground burial vaults), crematoria and columbaria (cremated remains depositories).

Does the Department of Health and Human Services regulate pet cemeteries?

No, the Department only regulates facilities for the disposal or interment of human remains. To the extent that pet burials are regulated, it is via municipal ordinances administered by the Local Health Officer as a nuisance abatement.

What are the requirements to register a cemetery?

To register a new or expanded cemetery, burial ground, or mausoleum with the Department, the registrant must submit an application for review and approval to the Division of Environmental Health. The information needed includes the name of the registrant; location; right, title, or interest; articles establishing trustees; and a boundary map.

How do I relocate a family member's remains from one cemetery to another?

Under provisions of 22 MRS ยง 2843(2) a dead human body may not be disinterred or removed from any vault or tomb until the person in charge of the disinterment or removal has obtained a permit from the clerk of the municipality where the dead human body is buried or entombed. The permit must be issued upon receipt of a notarized application signed by the next of kin of the deceased who verifies that the signer is the closest surviving known relative and, where any other family member of equal or greater legal or blood relationship or a domestic partner of the decedent also survives, that all such persons are aware of, and do not object to, the disinterment or removal.

Does the Department of Health and Human Services regulate funeral homes?

The Department does not regulate the operation of funeral homes and associated facilities These are regulated by the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation, Board of Funeral Service (207) 287-624-8603.

What are the requirements to open a crematorium?

To register a crematorium with the Department, the registrant must submit an application for review and approval to the Division of Environmental Health. The information needed includes the name of the applicant; the designated operator; a facility plan; equipment specifications; right, title, or interest; and a one time $200.00 review fee.

Who can authorize cremations?

You may pre-authorize your own cremation with a signed, written document without the consent of another person. If you do not make pre-arrangements for cremation, the following people may authorize cremation:

  • Your spouse
  • Your adult children
  • Your parents
  • Your siblings
  • Your representative acting under your signed authorization.

What if none of these family members can be located?

If the funeral home or crematorium is unable to locate the next of kin after making a good faith effort to find them, the most responsible person available may authorize a cremation.

Where can I scatter cremated remains in Maine?

Title 13, Chapter 83, §1032 simply states that cremated human remains "...may be deposited in a niche of a columbarium or a crypt of a mausoleum, buried or disposed of in any manner not contrary to law." Specific locations are not specified, although the Division recommends obtaining permission prior to scattering remains on private property.

Can I bury someone on private property?

Yes, if you register a family burial ground on that property, following all the licensing requirements such as recording a description with the deed and at the Town Office.

If I think that the prices charged by a licensed cemetery or crematorium are too high, should I complain to the Department of Health and Human Services?

The Department does not regulate prices, fees, or charges set by cemeteries or crematoria. These issues are best directed to the Maine Attorney General's Office Consumer Information and Mediation Service at 1-800-436-2131.

How can I file a complaint against a cemetery or crematorium?

You can file a complaint by:

  • calling us at (207) 287-5689 or
  • sending a written complaint with copies of all substantiating documents to:

Department of Health and Human Services
Division of Environmental Health
Subsurface Wastewater Program
286 Water Street, Augusta, ME 04333

04/05/12