Grave Contamination in Second-Empire Paris

View of Père-La-Chaise Cemetery from the Entrance, likely in 1804. Public domain.

An environmental assessment for a cemetery recently crossed my path. Glossing over the details, the report concluded the main contamination concern was “necroleachate,” decomposing organic material leaching into the ground and, potentially, aquifers. That is to say, the cemetery was contaminated with dead people who just would not stay put.