Signs are likely to appear in Ballarat parks and gardens from early next year to warn residents when weed-killer has been sprayed.
The measure, which is already in place in several Melbourne municipalities, follows publicity over concerns about glyphosate, a chemical widely used in weed-killing.
Glyphosate is one of the most widely employed herbicides and has been used across Australia for more than 40 years in products such as Roundup.
Recent court cases in the USA have highlighted a risk that the chemical may be carcinogenic - although the level of danger is still the subject of some debate.
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Several municipalities - including the City of Ballarat - are looking into possible alternatives for the chemical.
Michelle Matthews is an environmental scientist studying at Federation University who helped Hepburn Shire Council carry out a review of their glyphosate use.
She told The Courier that there was no obvious overall alternative for glyphosate.
"If councils do want to change their use of glyphosate, they really need to do in small pieces," she said.
In Hepburn goats have been introduced in some spaces to control weeds, while a Landcare prison crew also helped to hand-weed the Mineral Springs Reserve
Some countries such as Austria have banned the use of glyphosate, while others - including Germany - are looking to phase it out by 2022.
The Age reported last weekend that several Melbourne councils have banned or are phasing the use of glyphosate-based products, including Moreland, Frankston and Maribyrnong City. Many of the councils said they did not use glyphosate around playgrounds and schools.
After all my work, my biggest concern was not so much about the product but how people use itMichelle Matthews, environmental scientist
"After all my work, my biggest concern was not so much about the product but how people use it," Ms Matthews said.
She would like to see councils monitor the use of the chemical carefully, then consider alternatives for public spaces.
The chemical has in particular been linked to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, mostly for farmers using the chemical in previous decades.
Ms Matthews said that warning signs were an obvious solution, although queried the suggestion that dye be used.
"I would want to know if dye is a pollutant - but first find out if glyphosate is being sprayed - because sometimes it is not."
She also made the point that the chemical rapidly changed its state and would not spread easily once dried: "When glyphosate is sprayed, the plant is wet at first, but after two hours it is dry and it will not come off that weed."
There was "no miracle alternative" to glyphosate apart from getting down and hand-weeding, she said - an activity she said she loved, but recognised its limitations.
Earlier this year, an internal review carried about by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP).
That study deemed the use of products with glyphosate as "safe to continue as long as the Safety Data Sheet and internal procedures are followed".
A spokesperson told The Courier the advice was supported by WorkSafe Victoria.
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One of the limitations of glyphosate is also the resistance that many weeds eventually acquire to its use.
The City of Ballarat has said it was "exploring cost-effective and practical alternatives" to glyphosate, as well as looking into the use of signs warning of spraying "in the new year".
At an ordinary Ballarat Council meeting in September, Cr Belinda Coates called for a detailed report on the use of glyphosate and its alternatives.
She said community members were particularly concerned about popular areas where children played, and asked what could be done to avoid the use of chemicals and improve signage.
The report is due to go to councillors in early 2020.
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