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Interments & Disinterments

Section 6.01 Interment Rights

No remains shall be buried in any earthen grave, inurned in any niche, or entombed in any crypt except by written consent of the owner of the interment rights or his or her heir or agent.

Remains rightfully buried on a cemetery lot prior to the most recent lot transfer may not be disinterred except as ordered by a court of law.


Section 6.02 Interment Arrangements

No interment, disinterment, or reinterment will be made without proper arrangements with the Department of Cemeteries by the owner of the interment rights or his or her heir or agent.

The type of burial container (casket, vault, urn, or such) to be used must be specified.

The anticipated time of the cemetery service must be specified.

All services must be scheduled, interment orders signed, and the interment fees paid for in full at least twenty-four (24) hours prior to the interment service.

Services may be scheduled with less notice if resources are available; however, the fee for the service will be assessed at the next higher rate.


Section 6.03 Interment Fees

Fees for burial services, interments, and entombments will be established by the Mayor and Aldermen of the City of Savannah and shall be collected by the Department of Cemeteries.

Fees will vary according to the type of interment or inurnment. Fees will also vary based on schedule: Sunday/Holiday, Standard, and Prime as defined in these rules.

The full interment fee plus any outstanding invoices against the cemetery lot must be paid in full prior to grave, crypt, or niche opening.


Section 6.04 After-Hour Interments

Interment services must be completed, graves, niches, or crypts must be closed, and all persons associated with the funeral must be out of the cemetery by 5:00 PM.

The Funeral Director or person responsible for the service will be charged an after-hour access fee as determined by the Mayor and Aldermen of the City of Savannah for any funeral-related activities going beyond 5:00 PM.


Section 6.05 Interment Orders

The City shall not be held responsible for any interment order given verbally or by telephone, or for any mistake occurring from the lack of precise and proper instructions as to the particular space, size, and location in a lot, mausoleum, or columbarium where an interment is desired.

Interment orders must be filed with the Department of Cemeteries by the next-of-kin, owner of the interment rights, heir, or their agents.


Section 6.06 Interment Instructions

All cemetery lots will be sounded and available burial spaces identified prior to the selection of specific spaces for burial.

Previously filed burial instructions signed by the lot owner and notarized will be followed by the Department of Cemeteries.

Any changes to existing interment instructions must be specified in writing, signed by the owner of the interment rights, heirs, or their agent, and notarized.


Section 6.07 Space Selection

The owner of the interment rights, next-of-kin, or agent of the owner must physically select a specific space and sign an interment order attesting to burial space selection prior to an interment, unless specific interment instructions, signed by the owner of the interment rights and notarized, have been filed with the Department of Cemeteries.


Section 6.08 Interfering Monuments

Any monuments or markers on a lot that interfere with the opening of a grave must be moved at the lot owner’s expense before a grave will be opened.

Any monuments temporarily placed on an adjacent lot must be restored to its proper location within fifteen (15) days.


Section 6.09 Burial Containers

All burials in municipal cemeteries shall be made in an acceptable container.

The minimum acceptable burial container for non-cremated burials or entombments shall be a covered box of no less than one-half-inch plywood construction.

Burial vaults are optional.

Cremated remains to be inurned in a columbarium must be in a sealed, waterproof container.

A sealed container is required for buried cremains.


Section 6.10 Burial Space Capacity

Only one (1) casket, vault, or full interment shall be allowed per burial space.

No more than one (1) additional urn of ashes or cremains may be interred in addition to that casket, vault, or full interment in that burial space if space permits.

Up to four (4) urns of cremains may be interred in a single space with no casket, vault, or full interment.

No more than two (2) infant burials shall be allowed in any regular burial space and will be allowed only if adequate space for the burial container(s) is/are available.


Section 6.11 Burial Permits

Appropriate permits for all interments, disinterments, and reinterments shall be submitted to the Department of Cemeteries prior to or upon entering the cemetery for interment services.


Section 6.12 Indigent Burials

Burials for those declared by the County as indigent are available only in the designated indigent burial grounds.

The Department of Cemeteries will determine the time and location for the burial and will open the grave prior to burial.

Formal burial services, if any, may be scheduled on the day following the interment.


Section 6.13 Grave Opening and Closing

Only the Department of Cemeteries may open a grave in a municipal cemetery.

All interments and disinterments shall be done under the supervision of the Department of Cemeteries and in conformance with all State and City health laws.

All graves must be closed immediately following the burial ritual.

The Department of Cemeteries will either close the grave or supervise grave closure by others.


Section 6.14 Grave Soil

Excess soil will be removed from an interment site within twenty-four (24) hours after a burial.

The mound of soil directly over the burial site will be removed within one (1) week.


Section 6.15 Removal of Funeral Designs

Gravesite:

(1) After an interment, funeral designs and floral pieces may be removed by the Department of Cemeteries from graves after five (5) days or when they become wilted and unsightly.

(2) Owners desiring to retain funeral designs and/or floral pieces must remove them within five (5) days after an
interment.

(3) Only the owner of the burial rights or cemetery personnel may remove any funeral designs or floral pieces from a cemetery lot.

City-Owned Columbaria:

(1) No flowers, floral arrangements, or other objects shall be placed on or attached to the columbarium structure.

(2) Floral arrangements may be placed on the ground immediately prior to or during an inurnment service, but will be removed by cemetery personnel by 5:00 PM the same day.

(3) In maintaining the beauty, character, and distinction of the Columbarium, all landscaping and maintenance will be the responsibility of The Department of Cemeteries.


Section 6.16 Funeral Directors’ Responsibilities

The Funeral Director is responsible for the conduct of his or her employees and all persons attending the funeral.

The Funeral Director will be held responsible for all vehicles in a funeral procession. All vehicle and traffic regulations must be observed (See Article III. Vehicle and Traffic Regulations).

The Funeral Director must ensure that vehicles are parked properly for a burial service.

The Funeral Director is responsible for coordinating the removal of any interfering structures prior to the service and ensuring these structures are returned to their appropriate locations upon completion of the service.

If a Funeral Director is not used, the person making funeral arrangements will be held responsible for the interment service.


Section 6.17 Lifting and Lowering Devices

Suitable devices for placing caskets, vaults, or other burial containers into earthen graves or mausoleums, or such devices for removal of the same, may be requested from monument companies or Funeral Directors when planning a burial service. Operation of such devices shall be under the supervision of the Department of Cemeteries.

The Department of Cemeteries does not provide devices or assistance for the handling, lowering, or lifting processes.


Section 6.18 Funeral Service Equipment

Any tents, chairs, lowering devices, or other temporary items used for a burial service must be removed within twenty-four (24) hours after the funeral service by the rightful owner of such items.


Section 6.19 Inurnment in a City-Owned Columbarium

Inurnment rights must be purchased in full prior to an inurnment in a City-owned columbarium.

Cremains must be in a sealed waterproof container prior to inurnment.

Columbarium inurnment fees and other fees are established by the Mayor and Alderman of the City of Savannah. Fees shall be collected by the Department of Cemeteries.

The opening and closing for an inurnment will be the responsibility of the Department of Cemeteries.

Each niche is suitable for two containers not to exceed 5½ inches in width by 5½ inches in depth by 10 inches in height or, alternatively, one container not to exceed 5½ inches in width by 10 inches in depth by 10 inches in height.


Section 6.20 Interments/Inurnments in a Private Columbarium or Mausoleum

Owners of a private columbarium or mausoleum are responsible for inurnment or entombment; however, such activities must be performed under the supervision of the Department of Cemeteries.

If such structures have a door, the owner must provide a key to the door to the Department of Cemeteries.

The City will open and close niches and crypts in City-owned columbaria and mausoleums.