Red Zone residents spent Thursday morning celebrating their win over the federal government in mediation talks over compensation for PFAS contamination.
The 500 Williamtown residents covered by class action are yet to learn the full details of the settlement, which was struck on Wednesday night.
An administrator will be appointed in coming days to assess individual losses and distribute settlements.
"People have been downtrodden and fought for five years and the burden has been relieved, we have beat them, we have won," residents' representative Lindsay Clout said on Thursday morning.
"People have always told us that we will never beat Defence but it's an unbelievable feeling that we have. We never gave up and we never gave in."
Caine Gorfine said he believed the outcome was a world first.
"As far as we can tell it's a world first that three communities have taken on the government and won regarding this kind of pollution," he said.
Mr Gorfine said Defence had underestimated the commitment of communities to fight back.
Williamtown: The complete Newcastle Herald investigation
"We've known all along we've been right, it's Defence who've been in denial. I feel vindicated. It's a fantastic result."
"It was never going to be a perfect solution this will go a hell of a long way to giving people some options."
Rhianna Gorfine said the community had stuck together throughout the battle.
"It's been a united front. They tried to divide and conquer," she said.
"This shouldn't happen to any other community now they've accepted it as an issue. The distress and destruction this has cause should not happen to any other community."
Another, Gavin smith, said while the win did not remove the contamination burden it would allowed affected individuals to move forward.
"We've still got it in our system and we're still getting it into our system, but this gives us options," he said.
"There is hope that people can get out of here if they want to. We now have hope and we need to celebrate that as a win. It was never going to be a perfect solution, but this will go a hell of a long way to giving people options."