The Times has so far published three articles in the series, detailing problems with agricultural runoff, industrial waste, and herbicides. The series also includes several data maps indicating enforcement rates, state by state, and mapping facilities permitted to discharge pollutants.
Data compiled by the Times says that, between 2004 and 2007, Alabama on average pursued enforcement actions against just 10 of every hundred Clean Water Act violators annually. According to the Times data, more than 40 out of every hundred permitted facilities in Alabama violated the Clean Water Act annually.
As the old saying goes, thank God for Mississippi. Though the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (the bureaucracy tasked with regulating water pollution in our fine state) was lax in its enforcement, Mississippi was considerably more forgiving of its offenders. The Magnolia State issued less than two enforcement actions for every hundred violators.
In fact, Alabama’s annual enforcement average beat out not just Mississippi but a number of other states, including Ohio, Arkansas, New York and Texas. We lack the patience to examine the data for every state, but you can play around with the maps and read the series by following this link (may require a free NYTimes.com account, but if you don't have one, you should probably get one).