A new sewage system will be built in Rio de Janeiro to help clean up the water for the sailing events at the 2016 Olympics, organising committee chief Carlos Nuzman said Wednesday.
Several rowers became ill during a recent Olympics test regatta in Guanabara Bay.
“The problem will be solved by the beginning of the Games next year,” Nuzman told reporters on a visit to London. The Rio Games run August 5-21.
German sailor Erik Heil said he suffered a serious bacterial infection and spent several days undergoing treatment at a Berlin hospital on his return home from Rio.
Nuzman said the improvement of water quality was “a key priority” and a “serious matter”, affirming that the port of Marina da Gloria should “be totally cleaned up by the end of the year”.
Scientists at a Rio de Janeiro research institute found a new “super-bacteria” that is resistant to antibiotics in the waters where sailors will compete in the Olympic sailing events in 2016.
The bacteria is normally found in hospital waste and can cause urinary, gastrointestinal and pulmonary infections, officials with the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation said.
In addition, dead fish had also washed up on the banks of a Rio de Janeiro lake that’s slated to hold the rowing competitions.
Fish die-offs are a frequent occurrence in Rio’s waterways, which are choked with raw sewage and garbage.
The latest incident, affecting thousands of small silvery fish called twaite shad, began several days ago at the Rodrigo de Freitas lake, where the Olympic canoeing and rowing events are to be held.