News Queensland Brisbane families livid at cemetery’s routine flooding of their loved ones’ coffins

Brisbane families livid at cemetery’s routine flooding of their loved ones’ coffins

No sooner are loved ones laid to rest than council workers flood their coffins. Photo: Big Brisbane Boy
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Grieving Brisbane families are outraged by a policy that sees recently filled graves at a council-run cemetery inundated with water to make the soil compact and stop subsidence.

Cr Steve Griffiths says he has spoken with about 20 distressed families about the grave flooding process at Brisbane’s council-run, Mt Gravatt Cemetery.

“People are pretty shocked with what is happening … they send a metal rod down and feed a hose into it and let it run overnight so it fills the site with water,” he told AAP on Friday.

Cr Griffiths said if the coffin is not waterproof it fills with water during the process.

“Families are genuinely upset about the thought of their loved ones having that experience,” he said.

Doreen Awabdy, whose brother and father are buried at the cemetery, says people go to a lot of effort to lovingly and respectfully lay their family members to rest, so what the cemetery is doing is heartbreaking.

“The minute you walk away from burying your loved one, council workers move in and they push in the hose and spike until it hits the coffin … it can often cave the coffin in, it certainly floods everything,” she said.

“These things are not waterproof, they’re designed to lay your loved ones in the ground and for deterioration over a period of time.”

Ms Awabdy said her family weren’t made aware of the practice before they agreed to bury their loved ones at the century-old cemetery. She said what the council was doing breaks ethical and moral boundaries.

“They don’t put it in the terms and conditions, it’s not in any of the fine print and certainly when they sell you a burial site for over $6000 they don’t tell you,” she said.

“If they did nobody would be using these grave sites.”

Brisbane City Council says the process stabilises the graves and prevents subsidence.

“Council has adopted a best-practice maintenance program at all cemeteries,” a spokesman said in a statement.