Maine Cemetery and Crematorium Regulations
The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Environmental Health is responsible for the oversight of new and expanded burial grounds, cemeteries, mausolea, and crematoria.
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Monthly Crematoria Data (Excel files) 02/19/14
General Assistance Indigent Burials DHHS, Office for Family Independence
Any new or expanded burial ground or cemetery requires prior review and approval from the Division. This excludes family burial grounds, but includes public cemeteries and private cemeteries such as those associated with places of worship, and private for-profit cemeteries. Mausolea (above ground burial vaults) and columbaria (cremated remains depositories) also require prior review and approval from the Division.
The creation of family burying grounds will no longer need to be registered with the Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Environmental Health (Division). For many years the Division has been approving applications for family burying grounds. However, based upon a recent review of the statutory language (13 M.R.S. § 1142) governing family burying grounds, the Division has determined that the statute does not require approval by the Division. As required by 13 M.R.S. § 1303 the Division will continue to review and approve all other cemeteries except Veterans Memorial Cemeteries.
Division staff will still be available to answer questions from home owners and municipal officials regarding family burying grounds. Additionally, we have posted several documents on our web site, which may be useful to you, including a frequently asked questions brochure. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.
Many landowners elect to establish a burial ground on their property for the purpose of interring family members. Although a license to do so is not needed, such a family burial ground does have to be recorded.
When a person appropriates for a family burying ground a piece of land containing not more than 1/4 of an acre, causes a description of it to be recorded in the registry of deeds of the same county or by the clerk of the town where it is situated and substantially marks the bounds of the burying ground or encloses it with a fence, it is exempt from attachment and execution. The owner must have a description of the parcel recorded in the Registry of Deeds for the same county or by the Town Clerk.
To best assure protection of the burying ground as well as ensuring compliance with any local ordinances, we recommend that the parcel be recorded with both the Town and the County.
The Division has adopted rules for the regulation of existing and proposed crematoria. Any new crematorium designed to process human remains must obtain approval from the Division prior to operation. Any existing crematorium must obtain approval for continued operation.
The Division does not maintain records for specific plots in any burial ground or cemetery, nor for any cremated remains interred in any specific columbarium. The Division does not maintain records for any individuals interred in any specific facility. There are no registrations on file at the Division for any burial ground, cemetery, mausoleum, or columbarium prior to July of 1974.
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