In the past, the 13 dams currently on the river, supported industries, such as shoe manufacturing, that released toxic chemicals into the water. Upstream, sewage was released into the river and, with run-off, there has been a goodly amount of pollution put into the river. Some will have washed out to sea but there is a good chance that much is buried under layers of silt. If the river dries up, these toxins could be exposed to the environment raising potential health issues for Kennebunk residents, some even speculating that parts could be labeled a “superfund” site.
In places along the river, the banks are steep. With river flowing, this is not a major issue but if the dams were removed, this topographical feature becomes a hazard for children. Opponents of the dams contend that over a several year process erosion will lower the danger but it is a major source of concern in the immediate future.
The river and its ecosystem are a couple of centuries old and support wildlife including fresh water fish, amphibians and plant life. Some, like certain turtles, frogs and thermogenic plants, which are threatened or endangered, are unlikely to survive a new ecosystem caused by dam destruction