DEQ Employees Take The Clear The Air Challenge

By DEQ Communications Office

Forty-eight percent of winter air pollution along the Wasatch Front comes from mobile sources. Mobile source pollution is the emissions produced by cars and trucks. Reducing these emissions, is one of the easiest things residents can do to improve air quality.

During February, the Salt Lake Chamber sponsors the Clear the Air Challenge. The goal of the Challenge is to help residents learn helpful tools to cut tailpipe emissions. Competitors track online how many car trips they save by carpooling, telecommuting, chain tripping, walking and taking public transit.

Employees at the Department of Environmental Quality shared with us how they are taking part in this year’s Challenge and why they feel it is an important tool in helping Utahns clear the air.


Participating in the Clear The Air Challenge validates the way I like to live!  Walking, riding my bike and taking mass transit as often as I can reduces my emissions, makes me feel good and allows me to eat more.

Catherine Williams
Environmental Scientist

Catherine Williams walking to the store with her kids on a snowy day.


I have to get to work one way or another. Taking the train allows me to control my time. Instead of battling traffic, I can listen to music or podcasts. It’s my time. It also provides me the opportunity to interact with people I wouldn’t normally bump into. It broadens my horizon.

Colt Smith
Environmental Scientist

Colt Smith on a UTA TRAX train with his daughter.


“My husband and son work a mile away from me, so we coordinate our schedules specifically so we can carpool. It’s better to have one car on the road than three. I appreciate this time with my family. And when my son doesn’t work, it’s the only quite time I have with my husband.”

Jenny Potter
Executive Assistant

Jenny Potter carpooling to work with her husband.


I carpool everyday with my wife who works nearby. Not only do I get quality time with her, but we save on gas and emissions. It’s also great to have one less vehicle on the road during rush hour.”

Jeff Studenka
Environmental Scientist

Jeff Studenka gearing up to carpool to work with his wife.


I took the train to work, and carpooled home with a coworker. My normal commute doesn’t have much traffic, but I still like to take the train when I can. I enjoy my time to relax and look out the window.

Lexie Wilson
Environmental Scientist

Environmental scientists Lexie Wilson and Kati Chachere ride home together after a day of work.


It’s nice to get outside in the fresh air, so I walk to lunch about once a week. When our schedules allow, a group of my work friends go together. We get to have a good time out of the office and a delicious meal.

Carl Adams
Environmental Scientist

Carl Adams and coworkers in the Division of Water Quality walk to lunch.


I take the TRAX and Front Runner almost every day. Since I live in Layton, I have an hour every morning and evening to catch up on the news and listen to my favorite podcasts. It’s great for the environment and saves my family quite a bit on gas every month.

Rick Saathoff
Environmental Scientist

Rick Saathoff headed to work on UTA TRAX.


I’ve taken the bus to work virtually every day now for 33 plus years. I figure probably 18-20 round trips on the bus per month and conservatively 200ish of those round trips per year that would be 6,000 plus round trip bus rides since fall of 1985. I’ve lived in the same house since 1986 so the round trip mileage has been consistent. So, at a round trip mileage of 26 miles times 6000, that works out to be 156,000 miles!  Enough to make it several times around the earth on the bus.  And if you add in my 1.2 miles or so walking per day getting to and from the bus, that’s enough miles to have walked to the east coast and back a few times as well.

Boyd Swenson
Environmental Engineer

Learn more about wintertime air pollution in Utah here. Learn more about the Clear the Air Challenge here.