15 October 2012

Monday Infographics: The Clean Water Act at 40

For this week's infographic I was looking around for something great on the Clean Water Act, which was was passed into law by the US Congress (over President Nixon's veto) on 18 October 1972. Alas, I was not able to find something clear and colorful and informative about all that the Clean Water Act has done for our country and our environmental and personal health over these past four decades. I did, however, find a very insightful interactive graphic feature that was originally published in 2009 by the New York Times.

I mentioned previously on this blog one of the reporters who was responsible for this interactive feature, Charles Duhigg, who was honored with a Science Journalism Award from the Kavli Foundation and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 2009 for his work on the New York Times feature series "Toxic Waters." Credit goes as well to Mr. Duhigg's research and reporting partner Karl Russell at the New York Times. The Flash-animated interactive feature shown here is merely a link to their excellent and detailed work drawing all of the data together and publishing it online. I have not copied their data or work, or the code of the interactive feature itself, merely a couple of image captures and link to the original feature from this space. For more information on all of the stories and features related to Mr. Duhigg's (and everyone else's) great work on the "Toxic Waters" series, check out their New York Times pages.

There is certainly some commentary that could accompany this, related particularly to the data embedded in the feature, but I'll leave that for another post. Perhaps on Thursday, the 40th birthday of the CWA...


from the New York Times

Clean Water Act Violations: The Enforcement Record

Interactive graphic feature originally published on 13 September 2009 in the online edition of the New York Times by Karl Russell and Charles Duhigg.
Circles representing the number of facilities in each state that are regulated under the Clean Water Act. For
examples to provide scale, Wisconsin had 653 registered facilities, and California had 2,161 registered facilities.

Circles representing the number of regulated facilities in each state (outer gray) that were found to have violated provisions of the
Clean Water Act (inner, darker gray). For examples to provide scale, Wisconsin had 313 facilities (~39% of the total registered in
that state) that violated the CWA in the 2004 - 2007 period, and California had 597 facilities (~27% of the total registered in that
state) in violation in that period.

Circles representing the number of violating facilities in each state (outer gray) that were prosecuted under the Clean Water Act
(inner, darkest gray). For examples to provide scale, Wisconsin saw 83 enforcement actions against violating facilities (~33% of
the total violating facilities in that state) under the CWA in the 2004 - 2007 period, and California saw 142 enforcement actions
(~25% of the total violating facilities in that state) under the CWA in that period.

The following original caption accompanied the interactive feature:
Figures were compiled by asking states to verify data initially provided by the federal Environmental Protection Agency. Any time officials disputed the data, they were asked to provide alternative figures, which were substituted. New Mexico, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Idaho and the District of Columbia were not delegated enforcement of the Clean Water Act. Figures for those states are from the E.P.A. Georgia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Mississippi disputed the E.P.A. figures but did not provide alternative information. States' responses are available here.

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