Initially Robert Morse worked as chief sanitary engineer for the Maryland State Board of Health. Starting in 1912, the individuals actively seeking to form a water and sewerage utility in the counties surrounding D.C. were without funds for engineering studies and financial plans, so Morse and his team at the Board of Health provided assistance and expertise. After six years, the Maryland General Assembly passed the bill forming WSSC. As one of their first acts, WSSC commissioners named Morse as chief engineer, which proved a smart and significant move.
As WSSC’s chief engineer from 1918 until his death in 1936, Morse led planning and construction of the entire utility. His engineering prowess is evident in his design of the Morse Filter, and his judgment and foresight enabled the fledgling utility to survive and thrive.