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.
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 for type of interment: a standard adult, child (up to twelve (12) years in age), cremains. 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.
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 next-of-kin, owner of the interment rights, heir or their agents.
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, heir or their agent and notarized.
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.
All burials in municipal cemeteries shall be made in an acceptable container. The minimum acceptable burial container for noncremated burials or entombments shall be a covered box of no less than onehalf-inch plywood construction. Burial vaults are optional. Cremated remains to be inurned in a columbarium must be in a sealed container. A container for buried cremains is optional
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 ashes or 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 available.
Burials for indigents are available only in the designated indigent burial grounds and are not allowed on regular cemetery lots. 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.
A permit from the Board of Health is required for all interments, disinterments and reinterments. 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.
Funeral Directors’ Responsibilities
Funeral Directors will be held responsible for the actions of all vehicle drivers or others employed by them while within the grounds of the cemetery. The Funeral Director will be held responsible for all vehicles in a funeral procession. All vehicle and traffic regulations must be observed. The Funeral Director must ensure that vehicles are parked properly for a burial service. If a Funeral Director is not used, the person making funeral arrangements will be held responsible for the interment service.
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.
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.
Columbaria and Mausolea
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 mausolea.
Lifting and Lowering Devices
Suitable devices for placing caskets, vaults or other burial containers into earthen graves or mausolea, 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 ofCemeteries does not provide devices for handling, lowering or lifting.
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 p.m. 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 p.m.
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.
Any monuments or markers on a lot which 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.
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 also be specified. All services must be scheduled, interment orders signed, and interment service 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.