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It has been more than a month since historic floods struck South Carolina, but St. Matthews resident Marty Smoak says he is still living with the effects.

The Old State Road resident has to take a boat to his home because his driveway is under water and has been since the floods.

"I have to take a boat from the end of my driveway through the lake because the water is too deep," Smoak said.

The water has flowed onto his driveway and about five acres of his property from a lake in front of his house.

At the height of the flooding, the water was about four feet deep in locations. He estimates it is now about three feet deep.

"It is too risky," Smoak said about vehicle traffic. "I don't want to risk damaging the car."

Smoak says he has lived in the house for about seven years.

"I have never seen anything like this," he said, describing the lake and the front of his property as situated in a bowl-like terrain.

In order to access his home, Smoak and his wife have to get on a boat at the end of their driveway and cross about 450 feet of water. At the end of this journey, they have a vehicle waiting where they can drive the remaining 600 feet to their house.

Smoak said the house, which sits atop a hill, survived the flood waters for the most part, only suffering minor damages.

"I need to get the water pumped out first so I can access my home," he said.

Smoak has received about $4,500 from FEMA, which he says has gone toward rental expenses as well as repairs to his home's air conditioning unit.

But he says the money will not go far enough to pay for the needed expenses he has sustained.

"It won't touch the repairs on my driveway of $23,000 and to pump water out it will cost $7,800," he said.

Smoak says this is on top of the damage sustained by his electrical fence due to the flood waters. Also, he has an estimated 200 pine trees that have been under water since the floods.

In the meantime, Smoak says he has been to just about every agency there is asking for help to no avail.

Now he is just scratching his head.

"I don't know what I am going to do," he said.

Contact the writer: or 803-533-5551. Check out Zaleski on Twitter at @ZaleskiTD.


Business Reporter

Gene Zaleski is a reporter/staff writer with The Times and Democrat.

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