AFTER more than four years of crushing lows and defeat, Kim-Leeanne King shed tears of joy on Thursday.
Like many others in the Williamtown red zone, her family's future hinges on escaping their firefighting foam contaminated property.
"We might finally be able to get the hell out of here," Mrs Kings said. "Personally I feel so old and so tired and so worn out from it all. This is the happiest I've felt in five years. I want to start again and this gives us a chance."
Mrs King's family moved to Williamtown in 1974 when her late father, Commander Leslie (Tex) Facer, was posted to the neighbouring air base.
Her Cabbage Tree Road property and her mother Ruth Facer's neighbouring farm have open drains that run from Williamtiown RAAF base and are close to Lake Cochran, which was used as a dumping ground by defence staff for per-and poly-fluoroalkyl (PFAS) chemicals, at the centre of the contamination scandal.
Levels of contaminants from the property's bore water are more than 500 times accepted health risk limits.
When Mrs King mows the paddocks she wears a face mask and gloves, she muzzles her horses so they don't eat too much contaminated grass.
"We've had to change our life so much," she said. "This whole mess created by Defence has completely changed the way we live."
When she learnt on Thursday morning that the Federal government had finally agreed to settle to Williamtown class-action lawsuit, Mrs King broke down.
"Right now the chemicals are still pouring off the base," she said. "Since we found out I have wanted to move but we've been stuck.
"For people in the primary [contamination] zone there have been so many deaths and we're frightened. I thought there was no hope for us, we were all so powerless, but I've done nothing but cry tears of happiness today."
In 2017, a Newcastle Herald investigation revealed 50 cases of cancer in 15 years on a five-kilometre stretch of hobby farms and acreages on Cabbage Tree Road.
Mrs King's father died of bowel cancer in 2005. She believes he would be "extremely happy" that his family has a chance at a future and his death "hasn't been in vain".
"I've lived here nearly all my life. A future away from Cabbage Tree Road is daunting in some ways, but I also can't wait to leave," she said.
"It's only early days yet, but just hearing the news that we won was such a relief. The affects of this mentally have been so detrimental, not just to me to so many people, and I don't know if you ever get over that."
Mrs King hopes to be able to sell her property and have enough money, topped up from the class action, to buy an acreage outside the red zone.
"Even if we do get out we will still worry about our health, there is nothing we can do to fix that," she said.
"I'm just overwhelmed that now we have a chance, it's a huge relief. After so many years of heartache it's almost impossible to believe that there could be a light at the end of the tunnel."