FLINT, Mich. (AP) — More than 1,700 Flint-area residents and property owners are seeking more than $700 million in damages from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its handling of the city's crisis with lead-tainted water.

The Detroit News and The Flint Journal report the agency didn't respond to an administrative claim filed last year, clearing the way for Monday's lawsuit in U.S. District Court.

EPA regional spokeswoman Anne Rowan declined to comment on the pending litigation. The EPA, however, has defended its handling of the crisis.

The complaint calling for $722.4 million in health and property damages says the EPA "failed to follow several specific agency mandates and directives." It says the EPA failed to immediately determine if local and state officials were taking proper steps to address the crisis.

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