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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Any new or expanded burial ground or cemetery requires prior review and approval from the Division. This excludes family burial grounds-which are simply registered with the municipality-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.
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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