40 CFR 312.27 - Visual inspections of the facility and of adjoining properties.
(a) For the purpose of achieving the objectives and performance factors of § 312.20(e) and (f), the inquiry of the environmental professional must include:
(1) A visual on-site inspection of the subject property and facilities and improvements on the subject property, including a visual inspection of the areas where hazardous substances may be or may have been used, stored, treated, handled, or disposed. Physical limitations to the visual inspection must be noted.
(2) A visual inspection of adjoining properties, from the subject property line, public rights-of-way, or other vantage point (e.g., aerial photography), including a visual inspection of areas where hazardous substances may be or may have been stored, treated, handled or disposed. Physical limitations to the inspection of adjacent properties must be noted.
(b) Persons conducting site characterization and assessments using a grant awarded under CERCLA section 104(k)(2)(B) must include in the inquiries referenced in § 312.27(a) visual inspections of areas where hazardous substances, and may include, as applicable per the terms and conditions of the grant or cooperative agreement, pollutants and contaminants, petroleum and petroleum products, and controlled substances as defined in 21 U.S.C. 802 may be or may have been used, stored, treated, handled or disposed at the subject property and adjoining properties.
(c) Except as noted in this subsection, a visual on-site inspection of the subject property must be conducted. In the unusual circumstance where an on-site visual inspection of the subject property cannot be performed because of physical limitations, remote and inaccessible location, or other inability to obtain access to the property, provided good faith (as defined in § 312.10) efforts have been taken to obtain such access, an on-site inspection will not be required. The mere refusal of a voluntary seller to provide access to the subject property does not constitute an unusual circumstance. In such unusual circumstances, the inquiry of the environmental professional must include:
(1) Visually inspecting the subject property via another method (such as aerial imagery for large properties), or visually inspecting the subject property from the nearest accessible vantage point (such as the property line or public road for small properties);
(2) Documentation of efforts undertaken to obtain access and an explanation of why such efforts were unsuccessful; and
(3) Documentation of other sources of information regarding releases or threatened releases at the subject property that were consulted in accordance with § 312.20(e). Such documentation should include comments by the environmental professional on the significance of the failure to conduct a visual on-site inspection of the subject property with regard to the ability to identify conditions indicative of releases or threatened releases on, at, in, or to the subject property, if any.