Chip and Joanna Gaines are out $200,000 after the stars of HGTV's "Fixer Upper" broke a few of the Environmental Protection Agency's rules regarding the removal of lead paint from some of their televised home renovation jobs.
But, the final episode of their hit show based in Waco, Texas, aired on April 3. So if they're no longer involved with it, how'd they get caught?
The violations, according to a release from the EPA, occurred during the production of several of the show's five seasons. EPA officials just happened to be catching up on some of those old episodes when they spotted several violations of the Toxic Substances Controls Act.
The Gaineses agreed to a civil penalty of $40,000 for the violations, but their actions will actually end up costing them $200,000. Here's why.
The EPA found "evidence of noncompliance" during the renovations of 33 older properties televised in "Fixer Upper." Specific violations, according to the EPA, include:
- Failure to obtain firm certification from EPA before performing renovations covered by the RRP Rule
- Failure to assign a certified renovator to such renovations
- Failure to provide homeowners or occupants with an approved pamphlet about lead-based paint hazards prior to renovation
- Failure to post signs to clearly define the work area, warning people to remain outside that area
- Failure to cover floor surfaces, ducts and other openings to work area to capture falling paint chips
The $40,000 civil penalty covers those violations. The other $160,000 falls under something EPA is calling "injunctive relief."
These are additional steps Chip and JoJo are taking to make good on their obligations to the EPA and to the people whose older homes they've removed lead paint from while doing renovations. They pledged to become an EPA certified renovation firm, getting training and renovator certification for their staff and bringing their active renovations into compliance.
One of the final "Fixer Upper" episodes was part of this injunctive relief. If you thought that segment of the show highlighting what it takes to minimize risks associated with lead paint was slightly off from the tone of the rest of the show, now you know why they shoe-horned that part in there. It was something they had to do to get the EPA off their backs.
The $160,000 will go toward the Gaineses' supplemental environmental project for homes in Waco and the surrounding area. They will pay to bring homes there, where a significant portion of the housing options were built before 1978, when lead paint was more prevalent in homes.
By agreeing to the civil penalty, the Gaineses and their company Magnolia Waco Properties do not admit any guilt associated with the EPA's claims.
"We continue to be proactive with our efforts to ensure total compliance moving forward, and remain committed to raising awareness in our community and our industry," a spokesman for Chip and Joanna told People.