Feb. 21 (Bloomberg) — Peru began operations today at the Taboada water-treatment plant, South America’s largest, which will handle sewage for almost half of the 9 million inhabitants in the capital, Lima.

The plant, built by Spain’s Actividades de Construccion & Servicios SA, will be running at full capacity by July, Peru President Ollanta Humala said.

Taboada will boost sewage treatment capacity in Lima and the neighboring port of Callao to 75 percent from 16 percent now. Fishermen and beachgoers will benefit as less raw sewage is dumped into the sea, Humala said. After removing solid waste, the residual liquid will be pumped into the sea 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) off Peru’s Pacific coast, he said.

“This is part of the master plan to resolve the problem of water and sewage in Lima and Callao,” Humala said. “A big part of what we eat comes from the sea so we need to treat nature well.”

Work is due to begin this year on Acciona SA’s La Chira plant to boost the sewage treatment capacity to 100 percent in Lima by 2015, Housing, Construction and Sanitation Minister Rene Cornejo said in December.

Peru plans to invest $3.3 billion in drinking-water infrastructure over the next three years in the Lima metropolitan area, where about 1.9 million residents lack access to running water, Cornejo said this week.

To contact the reporter on this story: John Quigley in Lima at jquigley8@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Randall Hackley at rhackley@bloomberg.net