SPORTS

Brazilian universities to help with cleanup of city's sewage-filled Olympic waters

  • Triathlon athlete Kevin Mcdowell, left, of the U.S., and local swimmers enter the water for a swimming clinic along Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, Aug. 3, 2015. Triathletes swam in waters off Copacabana Beach despite published warnings that water in the area was "unfit" for swimming. On Thursday, The Associated Press released the results of a five-month investigation that showed that Olympic venues are rife with disease-causing viruses and bacteria. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

    Triathlon athlete Kevin Mcdowell, left, of the U.S., and local swimmers enter the water for a swimming clinic along Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, Aug. 3, 2015. Triathletes swam in waters off Copacabana Beach despite published warnings that water in the area was "unfit" for swimming. On Thursday, The Associated Press released the results of a five-month investigation that showed that Olympic venues are rife with disease-causing viruses and bacteria. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)  (The Associated Press)

  • People wade into the water during a clinic held by U.S. triathletes for local swimmers along Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, Aug. 3, 2015. Triathletes swam in waters off Copacabana Beach despite published warnings that water in the area was "unfit" for swimming. On Thursday, The Associated Press released the results of a five-month investigation that showed that Olympic venues are rife with disease-causing viruses and bacteria. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

    People wade into the water during a clinic held by U.S. triathletes for local swimmers along Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, Aug. 3, 2015. Triathletes swam in waters off Copacabana Beach despite published warnings that water in the area was "unfit" for swimming. On Thursday, The Associated Press released the results of a five-month investigation that showed that Olympic venues are rife with disease-causing viruses and bacteria. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)  (The Associated Press)

  • Triathlon athlete Erin Jones, of the U.S., smiles as fellow swimmer Kevin Mcdowell stand behind after they gave a swimming clinic to local swimmers along Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, Aug. 3, 2015. Triathletes swam in waters off Copacabana Beach despite published warnings that water in the area was "unfit" for swimming. On Thursday, The Associated Press released the results of a five-month investigation that showed that Olympic venues are rife with disease-causing viruses and bacteria. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

    Triathlon athlete Erin Jones, of the U.S., smiles as fellow swimmer Kevin Mcdowell stand behind after they gave a swimming clinic to local swimmers along Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, Aug. 3, 2015. Triathletes swam in waters off Copacabana Beach despite published warnings that water in the area was "unfit" for swimming. On Thursday, The Associated Press released the results of a five-month investigation that showed that Olympic venues are rife with disease-causing viruses and bacteria. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)  (The Associated Press)

Rio de Janeiro Governor Luiz Fernando Pezao has signed a deal with several Brazilian universities and research institutes to develop a plan for cleaning up the polluted waters of the city's sewage-strewn Guanabara Bay, where Olympic sailing events will be held.

Pezao on Monday hailed the deal as a "very important step" toward the long-promised cleanup, which has dragged on for more than 20 years with little progress.

As part of Brazil's Olympic project, authorities pledged to drastically cut the amount of raw human sewage in the bay before the 2016 games.

But an Associated Press investigation published last week revealed high counts of disease-causing viruses directly linked to human sewage in Olympic waters.

Seven universities, as well as several research institutes will develop the new cleanup plan.