What are the laws governing Scattering Ashes in Virginia?

There are various options for the scattering of cremated remains in Virginia.  If you intend to scatter ashes on private land, you need only the consent of the landowner.  When it comes to scattering on uncontrolled public lands, such as rural woodland, using a common-sense approach seems the best practice.  So long as there are no environmental or health and safety concerns, it seems appropriate to adopt the “don’t ask, don’t tell” methodology!  If it is controlled public space, such as a park, there will be regulations and a permit may be required.

If you wish to scatter ashes off the coast of Virginia, you need to ensure that you are three miles away from the coastline to conform to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations as per Code of Federal Regulations at 40 CFR 229.1.  Cremated remains containers must be bio-degradable if they are to be used to release ashes into the water, and flowers or wreaths are permitted so long as they are solely constructed from natural, organic materials and fully decomposable.

McLaren Corporation can conduct a sea burial while observing the EPA guidelines. Please visit our locations page for more information

Virginia falls under Region 3 of the EPA Districts governed by the burial at sea regulations, and written notice must be provided to the EPA Regional contact within 30 days of the burial. 

The contact for Virginia is: Renee Searfoss  
Burial At Sea Coordinator  (searfoss.renee@epa.gov) 
EPA Region 3 
1650 Arch Street  
Philadelphia, PA 19103 
(215) 814-2137